Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pasta Masterclass at Alio Restaurant, Surry Hills [CLOSED]

Thanks to a Scoopon deal, I got the chance to attend a Pasta Masterclass at Alio Restaurant hosted by Ashley Hughes who owns the restaurant along with his sister, Tracey. I have already made a couple of visits prior to this class in the past and loved every moment of it. Try their Linguine alle Vongole. It's the bomb!

If you are expecting a hands-on cooking class, you may be disappointed unless he picks you to help him out. If you are just expecting a cooking demonstration of some of Alio's well known recipes including a couple of Italian classics as well as a free 3-course meal at the end then it is definitely something worth experiencing.

Ashley taught us how to make pasta and focaccia bread from scratch and offered tips and techniques on what you should/shouldn't do when making them. He also gave some interesing stories about his time working in London at The River Cafe (where Jamie Oliver also worked :D!). During this demonstration, he taught us how to make one of his River Cafe recipes which is the spinach and ricotto rotolo.

It was so much fun seeing him performing various techniques especially with the pasta machine where it is clearly important to make sure it is as flat as possible in order to make a rotolo dish. Seeing the pasta sheet with the filling being rolled into a large rotolo was also a sight to see as he could manage to put so much into the pasta without much mess especially when cutting it into a number of equal slices for us to taste later.

Rolling and kneading the dough

Using the pasta machine

Spreading the spinach and ricotto filling onto the pasta sheet before rolling it into a cylinder shape, wrapping and then cooking it

Marinating the olives

Using the remaining pasta and the attachments from his pasta machine, he displayed the wide variety of pasta types from tortellini to tagliatelle and even some of the more unusual ones that look very similar to the more common pasta types. He even offered tips on which sauces and fillings are suitable to the designated pasta.

Various types of pasta

As we wait for the rotolo to get ready, we nibbled on some olives which got so addictive for me as they tasted sooo nice especially with the chilli.

Marinated olives with a bit of spice

I was gorging over the focaccia bread that I didn't end up taking photos when Ashley was making and proofing the bread dough. Sprinkled with rosemary and olive oil; the final result end up being a freshly made bread which is light, crispy, and fluffy. It is just so delicious to eat on its own. I was somewhat disappointed that I only got one piece of the bread as the class was over capacity that day.

Focaccia bread with rosemary and olive oil

During the class, Ashley also taught us how to make a simple salad with pear, witlof and feta cheese. An unusual combination of ingredients that end up tasting rather nicely together along with a bit of verjuice, olive oil, and pepper.

Persian feta, witloaf and pear salad

Finally the pasta dish we've all been waiting for! The pasta tasted so lovely with its thin and silky texture. I am a massive fan of anything involving sage and burnt butter sauce thanks to the gnocchi dish at Bird Cow Fish (RIP) and this dish is no exception with these ingredients making a positive impact on my tastebuds. The spinach and ricotto filling did not taste as overpowering as I expected. It sure was creamy and sitted quite nicely with the pasta wrapped around and the chestnuts decorated on top to give it the crunch factor that it needed.

Spinach and ricotto rotolo with sage and burnt butter sauce

One dish that I wish we learnt to make is the tiramisu. Thankfully we got recipes for all dishes that day. It was definitely one of the best tiramisu I've ever had. So light and the texture with the layers being neatly presented just as I like it. It did not go soggy like some of the other versions of tiramisu which make this version so delicious. In Alio's recipe, Ashley uses real chocolate instead of cocoa which has made a difference to the taste. Will definitely attempt this recipe sometime soon.


While I was initially hoping for a hand on lesson, seeing what was offered in the class was enjoyable enough for me on a nice Saturday afternoon. Would love to come back again not just for dinner but for one of their other classes like Italian Feasts as I certainly enjoyed it.

The deal that I got for this class pops up on various deals websites every now and then so look out for it if you aren't keen on paying the full price.
For more information on upcoming classes, check out the Alio website for further information on classes, schedule and contact details to make a booking.

Alio Restaurant
5 Baptist Sreet, Surry Hills, 2010
(02) 8394 9368

Alio on Urbanspoon


  1. Thanks for posting this review! I saw this Scoopon online awhile back and was massively tempted to grab one... Will have to keep an eye out - looks like a great class! That pasta and tiramisu look sooo good. Love that you get to take those recipes home with you!

  2. Snap - I just published a post on my cooking class at Alio. Looks like you made some different stuff to us, but it all looks yummy. I'm thinking I might try making pasta at home now.

    1. Christine - yup was so glad that i got the recipes especially for the tiramisu and the focaccia bread :).

      Miss Piggy - hahaha i saw your post as well! the food at your class looks incredibly yummy too!

  3. I was actually going to get one of those scoopons for Alio, but im so glad i read your post because i was under the impression it was a hands on class. To be honest I think to get tips on making pasta your better off going to a hands on class because alot of it has to do to with the hand feel of the pasta dough and the mixing technique with your hands, and the resistance you feel while rolling it out. I went to an MCC pasta making course ($150 i think) for the whole day and i got so much out of it because we made everything ourselves. It was excellent! You should consider going to a hands on class because I reckon you'd get way more out of it by the sounds of it, especially if you want to make pasta in the near future :) (althought the food at Alio looks DIVINE!)