Pasta became a staple of Italian fare after Emperor Caligula famously elevated a plate of lasagna to the Roman Senate. Feast on political recipes with today's Groupon: for $150, you get six Tuscan cooking classes from Tuscan Cooking Classes with Maurizio Cristiani at Grazie Pizzeria in Scottsdale (a $300 value).
Within the cozy yet contemporary confines of Grazie’s Old Town eatery, Maurizio Cristiani celebrates his family's traditions of cookery and pizza making through straightforward classes, directing students through Old World stories and meals. The six-session course transplants recipes from the kitchens of Orentano, Italy into the playbooks of American home chefs and meatball coaches. After preparing wood-fired pizza, lasagna, or italian kebabs, attendees sit down to enjoy the fiery fruits of their kitchen labors alone or with a friend (an optional $15/class). Classes take place every other Sunday for three months, and students can choose to start their session on the first or second week depending on their schedules and fears of even numbers. Cristiani teaches a new menu every two weeks, so apprentice chefs can hop into classes a week earlier or later to account for absences.
Amid the bright, contemporary decor and open-air seating of Grazie’s two locations, the restaurant’s chefs roll out fresh, flavorful pizza dough and compile classic Italian specialties. Their menu of pastas and gourmet pizzas—which are crowned with toppings such as prosciutto, capers, and ricotta—complement the tannins of an expansive, all-Italian wine list. The pizzeria doubles as an off-sale wine shop, with each bottle curated by wise wine experts who tirelessly sniff out rare imports with the enthusiasm of grape-fixated bloodhounds. When Grazie's hospitable staffers aren't serving lunch or dinner, students from regularly scheduled Italian-language classes flood the restaurant space with the delicate syllables of useful phrases such as “What’s your name?” and "Are you going to finish that lasagna?"