Cape Cod’s Italian Cooking Class Review

Italian Cooking class students.

Once again Executive Chef Fabio Pozzati of Osteria La Civetta has given an outstanding demonstration at Cape Cod’s Palmer House Inn.

Today’s instruction for our Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Class. This was a classic bolognese sauce and how to create and form several  types of egg pasta. We watched as Fabio prepared his native region’s signature dish, Tagliatelle al Ragu (handmade egg pasta ribbons with bolognese sauce).

Mixing pasta dough.
Mixing pasta dough.

Food from Emilia Romagna is very different from the foods from southern Italy and from traditional Italian-American food. Fabio explained that very little garlic is used and when it is used it is perhaps put into olive oil as a flavoring, and then discarded. Northern Italians use much more onion and the meat of choice is pork. They use much less tomato, more potatoes and butter is the fat of choice over olive oil. All of the wines in the restaurant are Italian as are the cured meats and cheeses.

Osteria La Civetta get all of their fresh fish from “The Clam Man” fish market on Gifford Street in Falmouth and most of the produce from the local Farmer’s Market. All of the pasta is prepared daily around noon. Fabio prefers to work on a wooden table because, “The wood is alive”.

During the class, he first mixed the pasta then allowed it to sit for about 20 minutes while he showed us how to prepare the bolognese sauce. When he returned to the dough he cut off a section and began passing it through the pasta roller. Each time he passed it through, he folded it and adjusted the machine and rolled it again and again. He explained that this process makes the dough strong and smooth. When he decided that it was thin enough, he laughed and said, “In Bologna, they say that when you can see through the dough to San Luca, the highest church in the city, that’s the perfect thickness for tagliatelle.

Rolling out the pasta.
Rolling out the pasta.

During the class chef Pozzati taught us to form tortellini and tortelloni, its larger form. It was stuffed with ricotta and spinach. Later when we sampled the prepared dishes we were able to sample the chosen wines that he had brought along. A good time was had by all.

Chef Pozzati demonstraiting the use of a pasta tool.
Chef Pozzati’s pasta tools demonstration.

Osteria La Civetta opened on Main Street in Falmouth just five years ago and soon became a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike. An osteria is a kind of Italian restaurant with a bustling atmosphere. The volume is loud and the tables are nestled close together. One can also buy groceries such as cheeses, nuts, oils and the like. The restaurant’s symbol is, la civetta, a small owl that symbolizes good luck in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Emilia Romagna is a triangular shaped part of Italy that is located in the north eastern part of the country. Some of its cities are; Reggio, Parma, Modena, and the best known Bologna, which is where bolonaise sauce was developed. It is also where balsamic vinegar was developed and where Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto originated.

Italian Cooking class students.
Italian Cooking class students.

The owners of Osteria La Civetta are an energetic young couple, Sara Toselli and her husband Andre Poggi. They are also from Emilia Romagna as is Chef Pozzati. When designing the restaurant’s interior the goal was to make it look like an authentic old world osteria. All of the tables, chairs, dishes, lamps, art work, vintage advertising, and the metal grill-work were shipped from Italy. Even the handmade menu covers are made from Italian wall paper and feature fruits, vegetables, nuts and wine bottles.  One Palmer House guest said after returning to the Inn from a memorable meal, ” It was just like stepping off the Cape Cod sidewalk and into Northern Italy.”

We are looking forward to Chef Pozzatti  being with us three more times this season. Join us for more Cape Cod Cooking Getaways.





Romantic Cape Valentine Getaway Guide

Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast white wine

Cape Valentine Getaway Guide

From cozy fireplaces, to warm pubs, to miles of pristine seashore, the Cape has a fantastic array of romantic sights and cozy nooks for you and your love this Valentine’s Day weekend.

Cape Valentine Getaway Guide white wine
White wine by a fireplace.

Thursday, February 14, 2013 – Valentine’s Day

Fire in the parlor fireplace.
Fire in the parlor fireplace.

Your Cape Valentine Getaway Guide starts Whisk the object of your affection away to our romantic B&B on the Cape. With the Palmer House’s Cape Romance package – arrive to romantic accommodations complete with a split of champagne and fine chocolates. Spend the afternoon sipping tea by the fire in the parlor and settling into the charming room of your choice. While all of our rooms have their own romantic charm, we would suggest the Harriet Beecher Stowe Room, the Theodore Roosevelt Room, or the Emily Dickinson Room for our February is for Lovers Package.

Then head to one of Falmouth’s fine restaurants for delightful Valentine’s Day cuisine. You and your love can walk to a number of romantic restaurants from the Inn. If Italian is what you desire  La Civetta and La Cucina are wonderful; if fusion fits your fancy the Glass Onion is superb; for a more casual atmosphere try the Stone Oven Pizza Co or Liam Maguire’s; and if a little spice is what you love Anejo Mexican Bistro & Tequila Bar is the choice for you. Falmouth restaurant map.

Friday, February 15 – Valentine on the Vineyard

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard from the Cape Cod Ferry
Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard from the Ferry

After breakfast at the Palmer House, take the 10:45 am ferry to Martha’s Vineyard (Steamship Authority Schedule). Snuggle with your Valentine inside the cabin, as watch the waves crash outside. When you arrive at Vineyard Haven (11:30 am) hop on a bus to tour the small towns of Martha’s Vineyard. Be sure to stop in Edgartown for lunch at the Newes From America Pub at 23 Kelley Street or the Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven Harbor.

With the warmth from the pub inside you, wander the small town New England streets and explore sea captains homes with your love. After you’ve worked up an appetite, share an evening meal on the island (Martha’s Vineyard restaurants). The last ferry is at 8:30pm. After your sumptuous meal, return to your room for a relaxing soak in one of the Inn’s jacuzzi-style tubs.

For more information on a Martha’s Vineyard Day Trip, view notes from the innkeeper’s diary.

Saturday, February 16 – Romantic Cape Daytrip

Bristol Beach, Falmouth, Cape Cod.
Bristol Beach.

Take a daytrip drive along the coast to the small Cape village of Woods Hole. Start your trip with a stop on Falmouth’s Main Street for Bill & Ben’s Chocolate Emporium to stock up on Valentine’s Day sweets for the road (and maybe a few extra to take home).

Then head towards Woods Hole. Take leisurely drive along Surf Drive to admire the New England coastline. There is a small area for parking next to Salt Pond. Take a walk on the beach looking for seashells and taking photograph souvenirs.

Captain Kidd, Woods Hole, Cape Cod
Captain Kidd

After arriving in the village of Woods Hole have lunch at the Captain Kidd pub. Sit by the stove on the enclosed porch and views the boats on Eel Pond.

After your meal, walk over to the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. This “small public aquarium that displays approximately 140 species of marine animals found in Northeast and Middle-Atlantic U.S. waters. The aquarium is designed for self-guided tours of the main exhibits and a behind-the-scenes look at aquarium operations.” -WHSA
There are frequently rescued seals in the pool in front of the aquarium. Seal feedings are at 11 am and 4 pm daily.

Nobska Lighthouse
Nobska Point Light

Next head to Nobska Point Light for a romantic sunset at 5:34 pm. Built in 1829, this lighthouse was rebuilt in 1876 as the iconic cast iron and brick lighthouse you see today. It is closed to tours for the season but it is a romantic spot to watch the ferries from Woods Hole.

After watching the sunset at Nobska you can return to Falmouth Village And the Palmer House Inn. You can refresh yourselves, then stroll down Palmer Avenue to Main Street for one last romantic Valentine’s evening meal.  It is just a seven minute walk back to the Inn and your cozy bed chamber for your last evening of your Valentine’s getaway.

Sunday, February 17 – With Love

Cape Valentine Getaway Guide heart shaped french toast.
Two french toast hearts.

Enjoy the last morning of your romantic Cape Valentine’s  getaway savoring a leisurely Cape Cod gourmet breakfast. At that time you can depart for home, relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated to begin the new week refreshed.

The New Year Arrives with the First Snow on Cape Cod

No Vacancy Sign in Snow

The first snow of the season is always an event.

B&B Sign by Front Porch in Snow
B&B Sign by Front Porch in Snow
Cedar Shingles on a Cape Cod B&B at Sunset
Cedar Shingles at Sunset

Oh, it was only three inches but it still looks pretty. We were up early this morning to do the shoveling. We had several guests at the inn last night, so we wanted to be assured that they could be safely on their way. I enjoy the muffled quiet of the morning just after a storm. It was a wet snow so the shoveling was heavy and the trees & bushes were bowed. Is it trite to say that it was a wonderland? Well perhaps, but for a few moments I felt like a small child again seeing all of the frozen beauty around me.

Memories of winters past rushed into my head. I thought of making snow angles with my little sister at our childhood home in Rocks Village, Massachusetts. I remembered walking up the hill to the two room school house. As we walked together, when ever a car passed we would climb up onto the snow banks until it had passed. I recall Dad teaching my brother and me how to shovel snow. He had it down to a science. With the shovel he would carve out a block, then lift up the block and toss it to the side of the driveway. When I was a mother, we lived in Pennsylvania for a few years. There was a record breaking snow storm, I taught our youngest daughter to shovel snow using her grandfather’s technique. The neighbors were in awe of our efficiency. She never new her clever grandpa but his legacy was passed on to the next generation.

No Vacancy Sign in Snow
No Vacancy Sign in Snow

On another occasion after a massive storm that had crippled the Washington DC area, our middle daughter was moving into a townhouse in Georgetown. We drove our SUV from New England to help her. The streets had not been plowed, much less the sidewalks. As the residents struggled to extricate their cars, we came driving down the middle of the road, all four door opened and out of each door came an O’Connell with a proper shovel. In no time the way was cleared and the move was completed before sundown.

First Snow for MNOJ on Cape Cod
Playing in the snow.

Another snow that brings back treasured  memories was a Christmas storm in 2010. Our three and a half year old grandson had  been adopted from India just six weeks earlier. His parents left me to care for him one afternoon.  It had just snowed, so we dressed up and went outside to build a snowman.  At the time, the little guy had no idea what we were doing but we had fun anyway and the photo of  us with our creation is still hangs on his Mom’s refrigerator in San Diego. The following day the entire family dressed and were preparing to go out on an excursion. The little guy looked up at me with those beautiful dark eyes and patted his hands together. He thought that we were going out to build another snowman. Tears came to my eyes as I told him no, but I knew that we had formed a bond.

Lamp in snow.
Lamp in snow.

Our guests have checked out and the inn is very still. It will be empty for a few days and after the New Year celebration, we will begin the process of taking down the Christmas decorations.

As we head into the quiet season, the warm Christmas memories of family and friends gathering, the delicious food the sparkling decorations and the beautiful music, make me proud and happy that we have this lovely old inn, where we all can gather.

Happy New Year, Bill & Pat