Because it often calls for bewildering ingredients such as prosciutto, roast vespa, and 1-up mushrooms, Italian cuisine can be a daunting subject for cooking enthusiasts. Start culinary educations with today's Groupon: for $40, you get a four-course Italian cooking class for two at Al Boccalino (a $100 value), part of Little Italy.
Drawing inspiration from ancient Roman and regional Italian styles of cooking, Al Boccalino's owner and chef Luigi DeNunzio brings energy to his cooking classes as he shows aspiring mealmakers how to craft scrumptious dishes out of seasonal vegetables and other fresh ingredients from local vendors. The four-course lineup, with a choice of protein, vegetarian, or fish, is flexible to preferences, allergies, and taste-bud mood swings, but a sample menu might start with Luigi demonstrating the proper way to sauté baby octopus with parsley, red onions, basil, and white wine. Instructees might also glean pointers on how to tame and domesticate handfuls of linguini found in the wild before caging it with ingredients such as anchovies, saffron, fennel, and onion. As a capper, classic Italian desserts such as venetian rice pudding and zabaione with prosecco cream over seasonal berries will defuse sweet teeth seconds before detonation. Whatever the menu, the fruits, meats, and sauces of Luigi's labor are savored as each course is made and then served tableside.
Although not included in this Groupon, many students enjoy the show over a bottle of wine at Al Boccalino's kitchen table or by getting close to the action and asking Luigi about culinary techniques and cover-letter etiquette. Dark-red walls, warm lighting, and rustic Italian décor imbue Al Boccalino with a romantic yet domestic atmosphere, much like hanging up laundry on a bed of roses.
Seattle's Little Italy Al Boccalino
Growing up in the Italian port town of Brindisi, Luigi DeNunzio frequented the colorful outdoor markets with his father. Surrounded by stalls bursting with local produce, meat, fish, and dairy, Luigi discovered his love of rustic cuisine composed from the freshest regional ingredients. After immigrating to Seattle in 1977, Luigi amassed experience in both cooking and business while working at a handful of the city's Italian restaurants. In 1989, he opened Al Boccalino, where tables covered in white linen host plates of hearty Italian fare. Since then, Luigi has expanded his oeuvre to include cooking classes as well as a second, more casual eatery, Café Bengodi.
1 Yesler Way
Seattle, Washington 98104Get Directions