Maria Belmonte, matriarch of VJB Vineyards and Cellars, gained a following for her fabulous cooking when the Belmonte Family owned Caffe Portofino in downtown Santa Rosa for nearly two decades.
Along with her son Henry, Belmonte will host a series of summer cooking classes at VJB’s outdoor demonstration kitchen, starting this Saturday, July 20. Students in the intimate classes will learn some of the secrets of classic, Italian dishes like Veal Saltimbocca, Spaghetti Carbonara and Chocolate Truffle Budino.
And the best part? You get to enjoy these dishes as part of a lunch served with the VJB Vineyards and Cellars wines. The classes begin at 11 a.m. and run about 2 to 3 hours. Cost is $120, including food and wine. To reserve, call Lindsay Evans at 833-2300.
Here’s a recipe from Belmonte, owner and executive chef of VJB Vineyards and Cellars. You can purchase her cookbook, “Cucinare Con Amore,” and her line of tasty sauces, pestos and tapenades at the winery.
Spaghetti di Piselli e Scampi
(Spaghetti with Shrimp and Peas)
Makes 6 servings
1 pound spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup shelled green peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large saucepan filled with salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the oil ina large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook, turning once for 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate.
In the same pan, add the cream and stir in the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp, red pepper and peas and cook for two minutes.
Drain the spaghetti and add it to the sauce in the frying pan. Stir over medium heat for one minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on a heated platter and serve immediately.