I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Yale Immersive Dining Experience presented by the Mediterranean Diet Roundtable and La Molisana pasta held at Yale’s main and very gorgeous dining hall, Schwarzman Center. Press and food service business professionals gathered together for 90 minutes of making fresh pasta with some of La Molisana and Schwarzman Center chefs. I found it to be a bit of a challenge as I have never made pasta before but as time moved on and more chefs came to my aid, I got the knack of making both egg and plain pasta dough from scratch. I spent a solid 20 minutes needing a ball of dough to eventually be put into a “guitar” to create bundles of fettuccine. My biceps got a good workout! I also enjoyed learning the craft of making “elephant ear pasta” aka orrechiette by making a thumb imprint in a tiny piece of dough and rolling it towards me.
After making pasta, we had a cozy dinner featuring La Molisana’s fresh and packaged pasta which recently just started being served at Schwarzman Center. All the 60 guests were totally blown away as we learned that Yale students get to eat like this everyday! It is a wonder that they don’t gain a “Freshman 50” rather than a “Freshman 15” as this dinner was as authentic as Italian cuisine gets.
During the dinner, we heard speeches from executives from Yale Hospitality (which you can check out at www.hospitality.yale.edu), Mediterranean Diet Roundtable (www.mdrproject.com) and La Molisana pasta (www.lamolisana.it). Later we were able to go up to a display case to check out several La Molisana products on display including their fabulous Gluten Free Penne, Spaghetti No. 15 and Garganelli. Guests were able to take home the products and more in the swag bag given out at the end of the evening.
One appetizer was the amazing Grilled Peach and Tomato “Not So” Caprese made with hand-dipped ricotta and extra virgin olive oil. The crostata was freshly baked, golden and packed a perfect crunch.
Another appetizer was Stonington Scallops Crudo made with Calabrian chili oil and kaffir lime sorbetto. People at my table were “oohing” and “aahing” over this dish and I’ve never seen anything eaten so fast, LOL! This splendid app was paired with a sparkling wine, Tenuta Di Tavignano “Il Pestifero,” March 2020.
One of the pasta courses served was Classic Casio E Pepe made with Pecorino Romano PdO–which was buttery and semi-firm. This was pretty addicting and I had to have seconds even though it was certainly a filling dish! This was probably the most authentic pasta dish that I have had all year.
Next up was a vegetarian’s dream dish–Molisana Garganelli, Summer’s Harvest Ragu and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes with a Parmigiano Cloud. You can see how colorful it is and the fresh herbs added a beautiful scent and greenery to dish. I had seconds of this dish, too! It was paired with Paola Scavino “Sorriso” Langhe Bianco 2021.
Then guests had the stunning Black Sea Bass in Blue Crab Saffron Cioppino with Molisana Couscous, which was paired with Ferraris Agricola “Sant’Eufemia,” Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato 2021.
Our amazingly beautiful and tasty dessert was Stone Fruit and Local Berry Crostata with freshly whipped panna. The fruit tasted like it had just been picked that day on a local farm and it probably was! You just know that I had to have seconds again, LOL!
I would go back to a dinner like this one in a heartbeat. All the kitchen staff got a standing ovation at the end…with the patient wait staff getting one a couple of minutes later! I must say that I usually do not like to hear speeches during a sit down dinner, but I especially enjoyed what Yale Hospitality’s Director Of Culinary Excellence James Benson, Senior Executive of The Yale Schwarzman Center David Kuzma and La Molisana Corporate Chef Giuseppe Angino had to say! It was fun to get inside knowledge about how both an ages old pasta company and one of the world’s top universities came together to make the best food that a college student could possibly eat!