Barilla Masterclass with Federico Zanellato from LuMi Bar & Dining | Casa Barilla Cooking School Annandale

Casa Barilla Cooking School as mentioned in one of our earlier posts, is a wonderful place for you to learn and soak up Italian food culture. There is so much to love about Italian food from exploring their heritage and tasting the different pasta and techniques that is unique to individual cities.
If you would like to revisit our hands on Master Class, featuring Egg Tagliatelle with Parma Ham, Asparagus and Roasted Capsicum Sauce and Veal tenderloin with Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Vinegar Reduction, click here 

We were very fortunate to learn from Federico Zanellato (LuMi Dining) as he uses his knowledge of fresh produce and Japanese culture experience to create specially crafted dishes for this Barilla cooking class. What a treat!

The evening began with Apero, an antipasto and a cheese board to share. We were able to catch up with the lovely Silvia and finally meet Julia from Barilla. It was another enjoyable and educational evening. 

Let's get started

Salt Baked Beetroot
There's five parts to the Salt Baked Beetroot. The salt bake beetroot, the goat cheese sauce and the black sesame sauce, black sesame emulsion and the beetroot juice. It was interesting to taste a dish we would've never thought of making.

While all the focus is centered around the beetroot, the black sesame sauce was the star of this dish. This was a very simple dish in terms of ingredients but the method demonstrates some essential cooking skills. For the salt bake beetroot, the only ingredients you require is salt and egg white. Lightly whisk the egg white and mix the salt until thick. Coat the beetroot completely, ensuring all sides are patted down with no air leaks. Bake for about an hour and 40 mins depending on the size of the beetroot. When ready, let the beetroot rest for an hour before cracking it open. Don't let the beetroot go to waste! You can make an amazing beetroot juice by blending the beetroot trimming with water, hanging it overnight with an oil filter and letting the juice drip slowly. Combine chardonnay vinegar, xantan gum and pectin for a zesty sauce.

The goats cheese sauce requires only cream, water and goat cheese. Combine all ingredients together and whisk. You can make this ahead in time and store it in a container, in the fridge before dishing up. 

The black sesame sauce (which was our favorite part of the dish), requires more ingredients. Combine Mirin, Tamari sauce, Sake, black sesame paste and squid ink paste in a bowl and mix it with a stick blender until fully emulsified. Let the sauce mature in the fridge overnight. 

The black sesame emulsion requires more effort than the prior. Make yourself a black sesame base, with water, egg yolk and grape seed oil. Place these ingredients into a thermomix and start the machine on speed 6. Pour the oil slowly like a mayo and blend everything until fully emulsified. Pour the emulsion into a cream gun and heat up to 60 degrees to serve. 

Chef Federico made sure that all elements to this dish were made with precision. Measurements had to be accurate and the whole process made us appreciate the effort gone into making this dish. When ready to serve, cover the beetroot with the black sesame emulsion and pipe some Barilla basilico sauce on the side. Viola, you have the simple yet tasty, salt baked beetroot dish.

Casareece, Prawns, Cime de Rapa, Bottarga, Orange
The next dish is an extremely complicated dish that required much prep work and time cooking to deliver the end result. You really appreciate the love, effort and time taken to produce something unique. This part will be broken into the pasta, prawns, prawn bisque and cime de rapa.

If you read our previous Casa Barilla Cooking School Master Class, you would know the special technique to perfectly cooked pasta is to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Remember, oil is reserved for the pasta and not the after you cook the pasta in. Olive oil is used to mix through your pasta when combined with your pasta sauce. Barilla Casarecce was used for this dish and it was our first time trying the Casarecce pasta which we found interesting enough to stock up on at home. We aren't sure what pasta base would best accompany the Casareece but would love to use it in our cooking adventures.

When cooking prawns, remove from the shell ensuring the vein is removed, then reserve both the head and shell. The prawn meat is then chopped into dices. The prawn bisque consists of a whooping 25 ingredients; onion, carrot, celery, leeks, garlic, cardamom, star anice, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, juniper berries, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, tomato paste, brandy, white wine, prawn heads, school prawns, water, oranges, lemon thyme, basil, majorama, lemon myrtle and lemon verbena. If you are looking to impress with your home style cooking, then this dish will not disappoint.

Now you must be wondering what to do with the ingredients. First. place the prawn head and school prawns on an oven tray and roast for 15 minutes or until deep orange and crisp. Then heat olive oil in a pot and caramelize onion, garlic, carrot, celery and leek for 15 - 20 mins. Toast all the spices in a separate pan and add to the vegetables. Add wine and deglaze the pan. Then crush the prawn head and school prawn together with some tomato paste. Increase the heat and cook for 5 - 6 minutes. Brandy is then introduced to simmer, allowing the alcohol to evaporate. When evaporated, add water to cover the shell. Reduce the heat and simmer until well flavoured for about 40 - 50 mins. Squeeze two whole oranges and add all the fresh herbs. Let it infuse for 10 - 15 mins then strain and cool it down.

The Cime Di Rapa will need olive oil, garlic cloves, chilli, anchovies fillet, salt and pepper. Pick all the leaves from the Cime Di Rapa, reserve the stems. Cook the leaves in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Cool down in water and ice. Strain the blanched leaves and squeeze the residual water out. Chop the Cime Di Rapa roughly and heat up oil in a pan with garlic, chilli and anchovies and saute all ingredients together.

And in the end, you are left with a very tasty dish. The amount of flavour put into the bisque was not evident in the pasta unfortunately. What made the dish was the Cima Di Rapa.

Barilla Masterclass always hold a range of exciting cooking schools or demonstrations like to one you see above. The price is reasonable for the experience and the food. We highly recommend visiting a Barilla Masterclass and you can see their upcoming schedule on their website,