Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

In the convents of Italy, you will see the "Sisters" wearing Manicotti (white muff like sleeves) to protect their black habits while working in the kitchen and making pasta. I prefer to eat my Manicotti and you will too.

During the month of November, I will be offering several classes in Manicotti making. This stuffed pasta is perfect for the up-coming holiday season and can be made ahead and even frozen for several weeks before your holiday party.

In these participation classes we will make 3 delicious fillings using ricotta and mozzarella cheese, spinach and mushrooms and a hearty meat filling. We will make the homemade pasta, roll the Manicotti and bake them in a tomato sauce.

Our class will also include and antipasti of meats, cheese, olives and mushrooms. Enjoy a fresh insalata mista (mixed green salad). And for dessert we will make an Italian tradition, "Tiramisu."

In Italian families Manicotti are reserved for special occasions, you will want to make them for your next special occasion as well.

To reserve you spot go to my website at and click on the community classes where you will find a complete listing of where and when I will be teaching this fun class. You may also contact me at

For District 196, Eagan Community Education go to:
For Edina Community Education go to:
For Hopkins Community Education go to:

And if you cannot attend a class all of the recipes are included in my cookbook, "Carmela's Cucina". Contact me for your signed copy.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

I am sorry that it has been such a long time since I have communicated with you, but I have been a very busy girl traveling to Italy and Ireland. Ireland was awesome, but it is Italy and Tuscany in particular that I am going to write about today.

As many of you know I lead culinary tours to Italy a couple of times a year. They are terrific weeks, full of fun, food, good wine and touring the most beautiful part of Italy. This year my group consisted of 11 people all of which were eager for some new adventures and they did get their wish.

Our trip begins in Florence with all of the art, history, and great restaurants that one can hope for. Also the Florentine Food Markets which are colorful, tasty and displays the most wonderful and unusual food one could hope to see under one former train station roof top.

Our driver Maurzio picked us up shortly after our visit to the market and drove us through the picture perfect Tuscan country side and to our home for a week in Villa Erina overlooking the charming walled city of Lucca. After lunch in our villa and a short rest we were off to explore the hill town of Monticatini, well known for it's many spas. While we did not indulge in a spa treatment we did fully enjoy the best pizza in the area.

Sunday is reserved for Lucca and the charming walled city that it is. It was September and of course market time, so the streets were packed with the locals that gives such an excitement to the city that one must experience for themselves. We have a tour by a local guide and have lunch at the famous Bucca Sant'Antonio.

Monday we visit Cinque Terre the 5 lands that Rick Steve's has made so popular and while we walk between two of the towns we ferry to Vernazza where our seafood lunch is being prepared especially for us. After lunch we are ready to actually hike between the remaining towns.

Our week long tour continues with cooking classes, wine tours and visits to Chianti, Sienna, San Gimingnano and Greave.

We are already planning for next year and if you would like to be part of the group then please plan on attending the information session I am offering on Nov. 17, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. Contact me at 952-929-9583 to make a reservation. I hope to see you there.

Watch this sight for a more complete description of the tour in the weeks to come.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins