The Collegian
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Tales from abroad: Jiaqi in Italy

<p>Jiaqi and friends learn to cook pasta from scratch. Photo courtesy of Jiaqi Luo.</p>

Jiaqi and friends learn to cook pasta from scratch. Photo courtesy of Jiaqi Luo.

Tales From Abroad is a series where The Collegian publishes a blog post from a UR student currently abroad, with permission from the office of international educationThis week we feature Jiaqi, who is studying abroad in Italy.

There is no better way to learn about a culture than learning a typical grandma-style recipe at her home. Especially in Italy, a country obsessed with producing everything by hand and with a culture of passing down learning to create “from-scratch” meals. Last night, I signed up for a pasta-cooking lesson in Milan and invited my friend Ryan to come with me. There were three other Canadian girls to practice with us and have a peak into the masterful universe of home pasta making.

Our chef Aurora, is a certified chef in Italian cuisine that has several years of experience working in a top Italian restaurant in Australia. Her cooking philosophy, like most of the Italian chefs, features fresh ingredients and handmade traditional methods. Our menu for the day is:

  • Tagliatelle from Bologna (with ragu sauce)
  • Vegie lasagna from Liguria
  • Orecchiette from Puglia (small pasta with Broccoli sauce)
  • Tiramisu


Preparing for TiramisuPreparing Tiramisu

 Fresh basil pesto sauce

Fresh basil pesto sauce


First, we prepared the coffee for making Tiramisu. Finger biscuits, fresh milk, egg yolks, every ingredient are bought from the open market by our chef in the morning. Later, we chopped the meat and sausage to make the delicious Bolognese sauce for pasta. Here comes the secret word – Massage. With a little bit of a hand massage to the meat mixture, the sauce becomes more flavorful and the texture will be much softer.

In the pasta-making session, everyone seems a little stressed out. It is always pleasant to watch the chef preparing everything from scratch and people rarely realize how much effort it takes. It is in fact, a very, very tiresome job. We have to not only make sure the consistency of moisture is perfect but also force the pasta into standard shape.  After half-an-hour of pasta making, we are all amazed by the amount of effort and heart it takes for a wholesome meal.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter


Making pasta from scratchMaking pasta from scratch


Our first productOur first product

Now, time to dine. Having tasted our results after two and half hours’ preparation, we were all overjoyed by how delicious it tasted. Fresh made pasta really tasted entirely different than the hard pasta packet from the supermarket. The texture, consistency, and chewiness totally converted me into a believer of “from-scratch” Italian cuisine now.

Pasta, Bologna-stylePasta, Bologna-style

Support independent student media

You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.

Donate Now