Contessa Pasta & Pesto

Mar 2, 2015

Contessa_pastaEver since Maria Luisa Fabbri of Contessa Chocolates has begun offering cooking classes, they have sold out, so if your interest is piqued, we would recommend that you act fast.

“Casarecce” is sold out on March 7th, but there are still seven spaces available for the March 13th class, which focuses on pesto.

A word about pesto:

From the verb pestare—to pound, to beat, to crush. Peppercorns in a mortar, grapes in a vat—it could be a red mixture as well as the green basil ensemble everyone imagines—in short, unless we specify what it is we are pounding, Pesto could be Wine! (Contessa Chocolates)

The afternoon will begin with champagne. While a cooking demo is performed, guests sip and sample tomato soup with basil pesto and toast. Instruction will be offered on how to properly taste-test olive oil—which includes small glass cups and slurping, we’re told, and is “quite a lot of fun.”

Pistachio pesto will be made for the pasta entrée with which wine will be served. Tiramisu is on the menu for dessert.

Luisa visits Italy regularly. Her focus: pasta made with heirloom grains, “milled using ancient methods” in order to retain “the highest level of nutritional value.”




The Artisan Pasta Factory of the Fabbri family in Strada in Chianti, Tuscany, celebrates the nutritional powerhouse which is pasta, using traditional methods in the farming of the wheat, sourcing heirloom grains such as Senatore Cappelli… Heat can potentially alter the nutritional quality of pasta – and virtually all commercially produced pastas use fast milling….




(Pasta Fabbri is) made without ever letting it get over 38 degrees Celsius, throughout its entire production. The wheat is milled slowly, the entire process including kneading, drawing and drying – all done to never exceed 38 degrees Celsius so as not to alter the gluten – the very heart and soul of pasta. This pasta was dried naturally, a 2-5 day process, and the extrusion (shaping) of it was done using bronze dies. The bronze extruders are historically accurate, but also create a more porous texture which affects the flavor and feel of the final dish.




Artisanal pastas are much truer to the growing season in which they were produced, the flavor of the local soil, the humidity of a certain year – as in good wine or estate bottled olive oils or regional cheeses, slight differences in taste and texture can occur. (From Contessa Chocolates and Pasta Fabbri)

The class maximum is only ten or eleven, so if you’re currently salivating, make the call…1.626.793.7761.

Pasta & Pesto at Contessa
Friday, March 13th, starts promptly at 5 p.m., runs 1+ hours
Contessa Chocolate Collection
380 S. Lake Ave., #111, Pasadena 91101
Cost: $30
For reservations, call 1.626.793.7761
See videos and daily info on the Contessa Facebook page



Maria Luisa Fabbri



Editor’s Note: We know it’s unusual to have a cooking class in the Home & Garden section, but we decided to classify this post as something one could bring back and create at home and enjoy in one’s garden.



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