If your home is anything like mine, your pantry shelves are lined with boxes filled with a variety of pasta shapes that make their way onto the kids' plates almost every night. We serve it up in various sauces — spinach pesto! homemade tomato! meat sauce! turkey meatballs! — but until last weekend, we had never attempted to make our favorite meal from scratch. It always sounded hard, messy, and not worth the effort when a store-bought box costs under $2.
Antonella Rana, daughter-in-law of the founder the 50-year-old Italian pasta company Giovanni Rana, may have convinced me otherwise. The animated chef and mom of two at home in Verona, Italy, was in town to host a "Pasta-Making For Kids" class at her family's first US restaurant, Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina. With my 7-year-old in hand, we headed downtown for a morning of ravioli making, and to our surprise, it was easier than we ever imagined — and fun, lots of fun! From Antonella's explanation of her golden rules of cooking (see below) to rolling out the dough and creating fun shapes, we had a blast — and, as with almost anything you make from scratch, it was delicious. And we weren't the only ones who thought so. The class was such a hit that the restaurant will soon be offering it on a weekly basis, so if you're in NYC, it's a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.