Christine Ciancetta Mixing Up Delicious Italian Cooking Classes

Using her grandmother's recipes, Christine Ciancetta mixes up delicious, healthy pasta dishes and sauces.


By Katie Hurley

Using her grandmother's recipes, Christine Ciancetta mixes up delicious, healthy pasta dishes and sauces.
Using her grandmother’s recipes, Christine Ciancetta mixes up delicious, healthy pasta dishes and sauces.

For the past 7 years, Christine Ciancetta has been teaching Italian cooking classes at the Bayview School of Cooking.  Her recipes and her methods were handed down from her grandmother, who emigrated from the Abruzzo region of Italy.  She talks fondly of long, multi-generational family dinners when she was a child.  “That enjoyment about food is something I grew up with,” says Ciancetta.

Ciancetta is passionate about good food, and it doesn’t take more than a short conversation with her to understand that.   “I feel passionately about people eating well.  They’re eating healthy food that tastes good,” she says, referring to the Mediterranean diet and the Slow Food Movement, believing that people can be healthier and still eat delicious food.

On May 14, Ciancetta will teach “Light Seasonal Italian Pastas” that include many spring vegetables and lighter sauces that are more appealing as the weather warms.   The recipes for this class are “typically Italian, with an American spin… a delicious way to eat pasta that is also healthy,” says Ciancetta.   A typical Italian pasta course, which is more like a side dish, will almost always have a small portion of vegetables in it, but the pasta is the star of the dish.  In Ciancetta’s versions, the healthful ingredients of the Mediterranean diet such as vegetables, seafood and extra-virgin olive oil are the stars.

Her May 14 class will include 4 pasta recipes:  Orecchiette with Asparagus and Vegetables in a Savory Spring Onion Sauce, Penne with Mussels and Clams in a light garlic sauce, Linguini with Julienned Zucchini and Bay Shrimp tossed with olive oil and herbs, and Fresh Fettuccini with Leeks and Pancetta topped with chive béchamel.   Ciancetta’s classes are fun and informal.  She encourages students to ask questions, and will often ask students to step up to the stove to help or to get a closer look.

olympia cooking class
Christine Ciancetta has been teaching Italian cooking classes at Bayview School of Cooking for seven years.

Recently Ciancetta found another way to share her love of good, fresh food by making her signature Cucina Ciancetta Marinara available at Bayview Thriftway. This delicious sauce is also featured in some of the Bayview Deli offerings such as the Eggplant Parmigiana and some sandwiches.   She makes the sauce from scratch in the Bayview School of Cooking kitchen, filling the Cooking School and Deli with a mouth-watering scent.  The sauce is great on it’s own, but Ciancetta also recommends using it as a base for soups and other sauces, and she features the recipes to do so on her website.

Watch for the Bayview School of Cooking Summer brochure for Ciancetta’s other upcoming classes.  In June she will teach a gluten-free class that will focus on corn and rice in the form of polenta and risotto, the gluten-free grains Italians use almost as often as pasta.  On a Friday night in August she will be teaching a grilling class on the Bayview deck, featuring Spiedini (skewers of grilled lamb) and a recipe to make your own herbed, roasted garlic salt.   Ciancetta’s 2.5 hour classes at Bayview School of Cooking are $45 and include a complementary wine pairing.

Bayview School of cooking is located inside Bayview Thriftway at 516 West 4th Avenue in Olympia.  To register for a class, call the cooking school at 360.754.1448.  For more information, cooking school brochures are available at Bayview Thriftway and Ralph’s Thriftway and at


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