A Healthy Twist on Traditional Pasta

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February 6, 2020

Care of Ayah Victoria McKhail, a TVA member who recently attended a vegan pasta-making class in Toronto!

Cucinato, the Italian Culinary Studio, where Old World charm meets modernity, isconstantly abuzz with activity. Nestled in the heart of Corso Italia, it offers a range of cooking classes and specialty events. Its warm ambiance is open and inviting; everything from the red and white
checkered tablecloths to the lettering on the front window are tinged with nostalgia and are reminiscent of an era where preparing and sharing meals were commonplace. It’s here where culinary professionals take the best from traditional techniques and combine them with their signature panache.

That’s exactly what Giulio Muratori, the face behind Giulio’s Artisanal Pasta was doing on a chilly winter night. Specializing in the ancient grains of Einkorn, Emmer, Khorasan (Kamut) and Spelt, his sold out and interactive class provided students with an opportunity to experiment with two types of pastas: Spelt for Fettucine and Khorasan (Kamut) for Cavatelli.

With students encircling him at a table, Muratori began with a demonstration, adding water to a bowl of Spelt. Rolling it into a ball and then letting it sit, he mentioned how his late mother would knead flour with her hands, and how she always seemed to have a light dusting on her.
The students then began mixing away, delighting in the process. “It’s very reminiscent of Play-Doh,” said Carylin Hayhoe, partner at K2 Milling in Beeton, Ont., which supplies Muratori with flour. “I’ve never made pasta before, but I’ve seen it made industrially. I’m loving the simplicity of this process. It’s also satisfying to eat something locally grown, which you’ve prepared; your body recognizes it.”

Karen Barkley agreed. Recently retired, her goal is to do more cooking. “It’s nice to make your food from scratch. This way, you know what’s in it. I was in Positano, Italy and once you’ve had fresh pasta, you continuously want it. I thought this class would be a great way to learn.” And it was, according to Elizabeth Bourque. “It’s messy, but easier than I thought.”

With the air redolent of onion and garlic, Enzo Frati, an organic farmer and chef was standing over a large, simmering pot of chunky, thick sauce infused with chick peas. Stirring away vigorously, he shared what makes Muratori such a natural at what he does. “He’s a carefree soul who’s passionate about imparting his love for organic food and healthy eating to people.” But that’s not all Muratori does. He goes even further by placing an emphasis on debriefing each class with Mark Cirillo, partner at Cucinato. Muratori uses the feedback he gleans from the students to examine how future classes could be improved. For him, the goal is to have each class function in the most optimal way, in order to deliver a truly unique experience, which is both educational and enjoyable. “I want the students to get the most out of my classes. For me, the art of
perfection doesn’t just apply to food. I’m always looking to take my classes to the next level; I want to bring something new and fresh to the Italian kitchen.”

Part of that means having the students learn about the health benefits of ancient grains, which are nutrient dense and easily digestible; challenging the widely held notion that pastas should be avoided. “I learned a lot and it was pretty easy to follow along. I also loved the family style set up and eating together,” shared Ashley Boucher.

According to Cirillo, Muratori really does bring a whole lot more to the table than just his pasta classes. “He embodies the soul of Cucinato; he’s like our Patron Saint. It’s hard to imagine this place without him.”

Hungry for more?
Giulio’s Artisanal Pasta can be purchased at the Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market (601 Christie St.) every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.
It’s also available at the Annex Market (718 Bathurst St.) Hours not yet specified, but please check annexmarket.com for more information.
His organic ancient grains vegan pasta making classes are scheduled at times.
Please check cucinato.ca for more information.


Filed under: Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised