June 10, 2023


Food loaded for bear

Cooking classes at Casa Belvedere cover homemade pasta, Italian cheesecake and more

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Who’s up for making homemade pasta and burrata cheese? This is Staten Island, after all, home to an Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere where cooks can learn the nuts and bolts of cooking Italian food.

This summer, chef Kim Leo will lead a kitchen program in the historic mansion on Grymes Hill. Classes will be held in Bacco, Casa’s ground level restaurant.

Adult cooking lessons are scheduled for Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The first one is slated for July 19 and centered on Italian cheesecake with fresh whipped cream and berries. Other classes focus on cheese cavatelli al forno ai quatro formaggi (Aug. 2); gourmet sweet and savory pretzels (Aug. 16); homemade ravioli with pesto (Aug. 30); burrata cheese made from scratch (Sept. 13); plus cream puffs and profiteroles (Sept. 28.)

Also, children can learn to craft food. Classes for little ones focus on chocolate chip cheesecake (July 20); from-scratch cavatelli (Aug. 3); New York-style pretzels (Aug. 17); manicotti (Aug. 31); Sicilian pizza (Sept. 14); and cream puffs (Sept. 28.)

Leo will lead both adult and kids sessions through the September. She is a caterer who is known for her Italian specialities such as scungilli, fried calamari and various tomato-based sauces. She occasionally vends her dishes from a food truck stationed in various locations on Staten Island. Leo has taught youths cooking skills throughout her career and has focused on special needs children.

To register for the summer cooking series, go to the foundation’s website at Casa-Belvedere.org and click on the “register” tab. Casa Belvedere is located in a restored home built in neo-Renaissance, Italianate style by the Roebling-Stirn family in 1908. It can be found at 70 Howard Ave., Grymes Hill; 718-273-7660 and features a members-only restaurant. Bookings for private affairs are available to non-members of the foundation.