Italian Cooking Class with Julia Paniago

Learn how to make Panzanella, Asparagus Brie Risotto, and Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce! This class is taught by cooking instructor Julia Paniago. 


The menu includes:

  • Panzanella - a flavorful appetizer with toasted cubed sourdough bread, tomatoes, shallot, basil, and a homemade lemon garlic vinaigrette.
  • Asparagus Brie Risotto - a creamy arborio risotto made with chicken broth, white wine, shallots, thyme, and served with melted brie and asparagus.
  • Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce - an Italian custard set with gelatin and sweetened cream topped with a homemade blueberry sauce.


What You'll Need
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
  • Mixing bowls
  • Skillets
  • Saucepan
  • Small ramekins or bowls
Italian Panzanella Salad
Sourdough bread, cut into cubes
2 large slices
Ripe tomatoes
Olive oil
1/2 cup
Garlic cloves
Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon
Black pepper
1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon
Fresh basil leaves
Asparagus Risotto
Brie, cut into small pieces
5.3 ounces
Asparagus spears
Arborio rice
2 cups
1/2 cup
White wine
1 cup
Chicken stock
6 cups
Black pepper
To taste
Fresh thyme
6 sprigs
Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce
Heavy cream
375 milliliter
Whole milk
90 milliliter
120 grams
Gelatin powder
9 grams
Lemongrass stalks
300 grams
22.5 grams
1.5 lemons
Zested & juiced
Italian Panzanella Salad
  1. Prepare the bread: in a pan, use one tablespoon of olive oil and place the bread cubes to toast until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Chop the shallots into small cubes and let them rest in a bowl of cold water.
  3. Slice the garlic and place it with the remaining olive oil in a saucepan over low heat until the garlic starts to bubble. Turn off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes until it cools down.
  4. Cut the tomatoes into the same size as the bread cubes and place them in a large bowl.
  5. Prepare the vinaigrette: The typical ratio for a vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. Measure the amount of oil you have and use 1/3 lemon juice. Place in a small jar with a lid along with the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and mustard. Shake well.
  6. Add the toasted bread cubes to the bowl with the tomatoes. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and toss to combine.
  7. Tear half of the basil leaves and mix them into the salad. Garnish with the remaining whole basil leaves.


Asparagus Risotto
  1. Heat the stock in a small saucepan until it comes to a low simmer.
  2. Prepare the asparagus: trim the tips, keeping 6 whole spears and slicing the remaining 4. In a large pan, add one tablespoon of butter. Once melted, add the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the color changes, then remove from heat and set aside. 
  3. To prepare the risotto, chop the shallots into small cubes. In a pan, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes until translucent.
  4. Add the rice to the pan along with some thyme leaves. Pour in the white wine and stir slowly to allow the rice to absorb the flavors and the alcohol to evaporate.
  5. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and adding more as the rice absorbs the liquid. Cook the rice until tender but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Stir in the brie cheese and two tablespoons of butter. Adjust the salt and season with pepper.
  7. Turn off the heat and add the sliced asparagus to the risotto, stirring to continue.
  8. Serve the risotto with the whole asparagus spears on top.


Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce
  1. In a small bowl, add a little water to cover the surface and add the gelatin to hydrate for 4 minutes.
  2. Add heavy cream, milk, lemongrass, and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the heat.  Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Remove the lemongrass and pour the liquid into the final recipient using a sieve to avoid clumps in the panna cotta. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. For the sauce: add the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Simmer until the berries are cooked and the sauce has thickened. Refrigerate until it is time to serve.