Once again, my wonderful wife surprised me with a lesson with an Italian Chef. Senora Adler Bonavera is the Chef, Patronne and Sommelier of Il Duca di Orvieto. She provides cooking lessons to professional Chef’s and also to serious foodie tourists. The techniques she teaches (and stories she tells), you can’t learn in school. Only years of practice and a love for the art will carry you through as many years of success as she has been a Chef. She was assisted by her Sous Chef’s – Almir, a talented young man, classically trained from Greece, and Leo, also skilled in culinary arts, from Japan, in her restaurant/classroom. Together we created some classic tastes of Orvieto.

Sig.ra/Chef Adler’s restaurant is on Via della Pace, 5, Orvieto. Her fame is authentic cuisine of the Orvieto area. Traditions handed down from generations. You cannot deny this accolade as when you taste the food you are taken back in time. Her cinghiale (wild boar) ragout, marinated in red wine (it becomes redundant to use the words “good quality” when speaking of ingredients in Italian cuisine), juniper berries and bay leaves overnight then prepared two ways – as a ragout and a stew.

What’s your definition of ragout? Mine contains tomatoes, I asked once, and she immediately responded – “no tomatoes”. A few moments later, again I asked “tomatoes?” and I think if a look could seriously hurt you, I would have been on the floor. She clearly has patience as I might have used one of the rolling pins had I been asked twice about something that was clearly not to be. This is authentic ragout with no tomatoes. The cinghiale is cut into small pieces then sautéed with a little mire poix and olive oil until it is browned slightly. The marinating liquid added and cooked for about 1.5 – 2 hours until tender and almost dry – and not a tomato in sight. The bigger pieces of marinated meat were boiled in the liquid until fork tender (about 3 hours) to make a delicious stew served simply with a rocket salad and balsamic glaze. Wow – delizioso!

I can tell you the recipe for the pasta, but it’s the technique that’s important. Hand mixed, rolled thin, worked to perfection, cut into the appropriate type of pasta – in our case fettucine, pappardelle, also umbrichelli style – dried and cooked. Semolina flour and egg or semolina flour and water – that’s it, really! Chef Adler tossed the ragout with the cooked pasta and served it along with the second pasta dish – Carbonara with Fava Bean – which I will try and do justice to her teaching below. The simplicity of the recipe can only be complemented by the complexity of her talents! Mi hai insegnato tanto in poche ore, piu che potrebbe imparare in tanti, tanti settimane. Anche se io non potevo parlare l’Italiano, errevamo capace di capire uno con l’altro. Anche, noi condividiamo la passione del buon cibo. Grazie mille per I vostri suggerimenti, techniche, storie e, sopratutto, per la vostra ospitalita. (Chef Adler, you have taught me more in a few hours, than I could have learned in a few weeks. Although I don’t speak Italian, we spoke the language and share the passion for good food. Many thanks for your tips, techniques, stories and hospitality. (Cathie, thanks for the translation)

Pasta Carbonara with fresh Fava Bean Puree
½ cup shelled and peeled fresh fava beans (this was boiled for only a minute or so to cook)
¼ cup full fat milk or table cream – add more as needed, the consistency of the final product is thick but pourable
2 egg yolks
¼ – 1/2 cup pecorino cheese
¼ cup pasta water – start with less and use up to ¼ cup
Salt and pepper to taste (remember the pasta water is salted)
1 lb fresh pasta noodles

Puree the fava beans with the milk/cream, salt and pepper – taste, season and taste again
In a medium size bowl, add the egg yolks, cheese, additional milk/cream and fava bean puree
Mix well, loosen with a little of the pasta water
Immediately toss the cooked fresh pasta noodles into the sauce – quickly stir to ensure your eggs don’t scramble – you want it to coat the pasta evenly
Plate the pasta, serve with more ground pecorino, black pepper and olive oil – don’t forget the crusty Italian loaf for mopping up the extra sauce – do not waste it!
From the kitchen of Chef Adler, to mine to yours! As always – enjoy!


Semolina flour and an egg – and so it begins!


Hand rolling the pasta to just the right thickness.


Cinghiale Stew – what a beautiful sight!


Cinghiale Ragout – No tomatoes!


Pasta sheet, dried and ready to be cut!


Just like when we used to play with plasticine – turning flat strips into tubes of pasta.


Chef Adler rolling past ready to be cut linguini style.



Rolled pasta, floured drying in the air.


Carbonara sauce with Fava bean puree.



Presenting – Pasta Carbonara with Fava Bean Puree!


Pasta with Cinghiale Ragout


Bites of heaven!


Almir, Me, Chef Adler and Leo