Last week Amanda and Katie took a pasta making class at a local favorite in the city called Gemma Foods. If you haven't heard of them, the storefront is located on Grand Ave near the city's West Loop. As a neighbor, Amanda has been a longtime shopper of the store purchasing a number of items and always remembering to pick up her favorite, the Gemma vodka sauce.
Gemma was founded by Chef Tony Quartaro’s who began his culinary journey at the young age of 8 making meatballs and gnocchi at home with his grandmother. He developed a true passion for Italian foods and cultural dishes. Tony began working in award-winning restaurants in San Francisco, NYC, and Chicago. His vision came during Covid and he created Gemma Foods in order to bring restaurant quality Italian food to your dinner table & selling products throughout the city and shipping nationwide.
We began our evening by checking in at the front desk where we were given our aprons and filled out a name tag. The staff was incredibly welcoming and friendly. We were served a charcuterie board with all the trimmings, given water and encouraged to pop open our BYOB (beer or wine). A cooler was made available to keep beverages cold and glasses were provided along with non alcoholic drinks.
After dining on the most delicious cheese and breads, we began our session. The class will teach you how to make your own fresh pasta dough, create pasta shapes and design sauces based on seasonal ingredients. Each class will include an introduction to handmade pasta making, review of tools and equipment, basic ingredients and general cooking techniques to feel like a chef in your own home kitchen. The lead staff had all participants engaged and sharing their favorite memories of travels to Italy and cooking family dishes.
Amanda and Katie were stationed at the end of the table and all the ingredients and tools were made readily available. You and a teammate will work together during the class to create a handmade, filled pasta. This is the perfect girls night out with your bestie, spouse or family member. What's better than sipping wine and making pasta together!? The class will include an educational overview and hands-on creation of dough making, including the type of flour to use, proper texture, rolling, shaping, filling, and cutting. Our team was AMAZING and offered ample support with easy to follow directives.
The selection varies depending on the course. On our night of attendance we made Doppio Ravioli (double ravioli) which is a technique where you take two different fillings and put them, side by side, into one ravioli. Double the flavor, double the fun! Our fillings were a sweet potato and goat cheese/feta. Once we created our pasta, participants were given a salad while the chef cooked and topped our raviolis with a bolognese sauce that was outstanding! The team is careful to label what you make so you are eating your own pasta. We even had containers of leftover pasta to bring home and have at a later date. Our foodie husbands both loved our pasta creations and ate all our leftovers.
We had the best night and took some time after the class to chat with the team and pick up some vodka sauce and merch for the kids to bring home. We highly recommend Gemma foods for a date night or group outing. Katie and her husband have taken a number of cooking classes and this one tops the charts! The staff, experience and food can't be beat! Book your next birthday, team building event, or family party with Gemma Foods!
X0 - Katie and Amanda