al dente = (of food, typically pasta) cooked so as to be still firm when bitten
Today our class experienced agriturismo or agricultural tourism at a family farm in Verona. The farm has expanded into a little restaurant, where we had our cooking class, a winery, and a hotel. The location boasts one of the most beautiful views of Verona off the patio, and in the winery, the rolling hills of Northern Italy are scenic.
After our gnocchi class, I expected pasta making to involve a bit more intricate skill, or at least more ingredients. No - pasta is as simple as it gets! We mixed flour and an egg to make the dough. From there, all that is needed is a rolling pin and a pasta machine for flattening and cutting the strands. I created the pasta nests by simply wrapping the strands around my fingers.
This little family farm, a minor producer of wine and food, receives funding from the European Union. I thought that was interesting, and I would hope the United States government would have policies that promote small, family farms as well. While I don't wish GMOs were banned, since they have done a lot to reduce world hunger, I wish the price of organically grown produce and ethically farmed meat (by small, local farms) would be lowered somehow. This is difficult to do in the United States economy where mass-produced Monsanto products are available. I have certainly enjoyed the fresh, crisp taste of tomatoes and the fantastic, small-batch wine while I have been in Italy.