Pasta Masterclasses at Carnevale

Natalie von Bertouch

19 January 2012

Carnevale, the Italian festival, is taking place on 11/12 February 2012 at the Adelaide Showgrounds. It’s no surprise that a celebration of all things Italian should be including pasta masterclasses.

The classes will be conducted by Adam Swanson (of Glenelg’s Zucca) and for two of these sessions he’ll be joined by Australian Diamond Natalie von Bertouch. When she’s not playing netball von Bertouch is also a dietitian so she’ll be providing tips on making healthier pasta sauces.

Adam and Natalie are both brand ambassadors for San Remo pasta, Carnevale’s patron sponsor. San Remo will be supplying the pasta for the master classes.

You can see Adam and Natalie at 2:45pm on Saturday and 2:15pm on Sunday, or Adam only at 6pm Saturday and 5:30pm Sunday.

Rocket Pesto


So, rocket, or arugula, or even more irritatingly, roquette.*  It grows like a weed in my parents’ garden and there’s only so much that can be used in salads or as decoration.  Mum gave me a huge bunch after a weeding session and probably thought it would sit in my fridge until it was thrown out.

To be honest, I was a bit worried when I came to the bunch of rocket a couple of days later … but mum had done the Jamie Oliver trick of wrapping the herb in damp kitchen roll and then putting it in a plastic bag and it was as good as new.

The most painful part of this recipe was picking over the rocket and stripping the leaves.  If you go and buy a bag of rocket from the supermarket you won’t have to worry about that (it’s also likely that your rocket won’t have quite as much flavour as home grown, but you can’t have everything).

Throw your rocket, with a clove or two of garlic, into a food processor (we all know that that was my trusty MagiMix), and chop it finely.  Add some pinenuts (you don’t need to toast them and walnuts make a perfectly adequate substitute), a good few handfuls of grated parmesan and mix it all up, adding some good quality extra virgin olive oil, to arrive at the consistency you want.  Taste as you go along … if you’re generous with the parmesan, you may not need salt.  If you want to use this as salad dressing, add more oil, if it’s to be used on canapés, use less.

This isn’t really a recipe – it’s a technique.  Some bought pestos aren’t bad (and some are outright awful), but this but a few moments to put together and is far tastier than anything you’ll ever find on a supermarket shelf.  And if you have free rocket it is also far far cheaper.

Just look at the gorgeous colour!

*Most people are neither Italian nor French, so unless you are going to start referring to basilico or basilic you have no business called rocket anything other than rocket!

San Remo Diamonds Dinner

Australia VS New Zealand
photo by Stanley Yeo

Disclaimer:  I attended the dinner as a guest of San Remo.

Last night, San Remo, one of the major sponsors of the Diamonds, Australia’s national netball team, hosted a dinner in the ballroom at St Mark’s College.  This was in honour of the Wednesday night Diamonds’ match against New Zealand in the current test series.

In addition to lots of sporty types, including the very tall Diamonds themselves, the winners of San Remo’s recent Diamond Dinner were in attendance, as were eight bloggers*, including me, from around Australia.

The evening began with drinks and canapés on the lawn outside Downer House. Despite weather in Adelaide being spectacular over the weekend, yesterday wasn’t quite so warm so we moved up to the ballroom quite quickly. I was sitting next to Diamond Laura Geitz and Stephanie Greene, the CEO of Netball SA. For someone whose PE reports used to read “Alexandra tries hard” this was pretty scary stuff! But thankfully most of the talk during the evening was on the food. Naturally, pasta was dominant!

The menu had been put together by Adam Swanson and had a very personal, family focus for him. The dishes were all ones he’d grown up eating and even the bread and incredible olives that were on the table were a family affair.

We started with a prawn cocktail served with angel hair pasta. This was a bit different because the pasta was served cold. I know that if I tried to serve cold pasta like it would stick together in one pasta like lump, but Swanson had no such problems. For main course, we had a choice of barramundi with pea and dill risoni or pork and veal polpette with ragu and bucatini. I chose the polpette (Adam’s nonna’s recipe) – this was quite possibly the largest plate of pasta I’ve ever seen! I made sure I ate my way through the tasty meatballs but was, unfortunately, defeated by rather a lot of the pasta.

Dessert was a perfect foil to the rich main course – a simple plate of fresh fruit served with blood orange gelato and almond bread. Now I’d describe myself as someone who really doesn’t like orange so this is something I’d never order, left to my own devices. But the blood orange gelato was amazing – tart, creamy and sitting perhaps more on the lemon end of the citrus scale than orange – and sat really well with the strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, rockmelon and watermelon. I would have been quite happy just having the gelato!

The evening wrapped up quite early – the Diamonds had only just flown in from Perth and have a big day of preparation today before their match tomorrow night. And I just needed to go home and snooze of that huge plate of pasta …

*The bloggers were: Lucy from Diminishing Lucy, Kelly from Be a Fun Mum, Sarah from Ah the Possibilities, Emily from Fuss Free Cooking, Catherine from Adventures with Kids, Cheri from Ms Critique, and, last but not least, Debbie from Adelaide’s own d bites.