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If ‘Master of None’ has you dreaming of Italian pasta school, here’s the truth

Warning: This post contains spoilers about Netflix’s “Master of None.” If you aren’t caught up, stop reading right now. You’ve been warned.

In the final scene of Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix series, “Master of None,” struggling New York actor Dev (Ansari) boards a plane. Something big is going to happen. We’re meant to think he’s flying to Tokyo, to win back his ex-girlfriend Rachel.

“So what takes you to Italy?” asks the woman seated next to him, revealing Dev’s actual destination.

“Pasta?” Dev replies, the question lingering in his voice. “I really like eating it, and I enjoy making it, so a few days ago I just decided to pack up all my stuff and move to Italy and go to pasta-making school.”

“Big move. You just decided, just like that?”

“Just like that,” he says.

I mean, sure, who among us hasn’t dreamed of running away to eat and cook under the Tuscan sun, turning a Roman holiday into a Roman way of life? But just how easily could someone hypothetically drop everything and enroll in a journey toward becoming the next Mario Batali?

The answer probably isn’t “just like that.”

“I don’t know of any [schools] that just do pasta,” said cookbook author, culinary instructor and pasta expert Giuliano Hazan, who has lived in and spent a lot of time visiting Italy.

Twice a year, Hazan and his wife, Lael, host a week-long cooking school ($4,950 per person) in a 16th-century Italian villa in Northern Tuscany. They devote one day to learning how to make pasta.

Hazan recalled how students at the school run by his mother, famed author Marcella Hazan, would learn how to roll and cut pasta by hand. “That definitely is a craft, and that would take quite a while to master, but actually making the dough, you do it a few times and you get a feel for it,” Hazan said. “So it’s not incredibly difficult.”

[What’s cooking in Bologna? Cooking schools.]

Maybe this trip will be shorter than Dev anticipates, especially since he seems to have mastered it pretty well with the KitchenAid pasta press given to him by Rachel.

For a longer stay, he could have looked into the International Culinary Center‘s seven-month Italian Culinary Experience program. It’s comprised of an immersive curriculum during which students spend 10 weeks in classes in New York or California, followed by 18 weeks in Italy, with half of that time devoted to classes and the other half to staging at a restaurant. Stateside, students study pasta for about 14 days, said chef Candy Argondizza, ICC’s vice president of culinary and pastry arts, though they continue to make it throughout the program. The price tag: $43,300. (How lucrative are the residuals from that Go-Gurt commercial, Dev?)

Still, the notion that someone could drop everything and enroll in this program isn’t totally far-fetched, Argondizza said. She estimates that more than half of the students are career-changers with no professional culinary experience.

Anyone seriously considering studying in Italy, though, would need to know at least some Italian, which is why ICC includes language lessons. While Dev seems to at least know his way around pasta types — “That ain’t spaghetti, that’s bucatini! It’s a thicker noodle, dummy!” — his somewhat butchered pronunciation of “guanciale” (cured pork jowl) does not instill us with a ton of confidence.

“Language could be a possible barrier,” said cookbook author Domenica Marchetti, whose family hails from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Schools, tours and workshops geared toward travelers are the best bet for English speakers.

“I do teach pasta-making in Italy,” Marchetti said. “Maybe he should come see me in Abruzzo in September.” Price for the week-long culinary tour organized through Abruzzo Presto: $4,950 per person.

Dev could possibly cobble together a pasta education with a variety of day- or several-day-long classes, such as those at La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese. Described by former Post staff writer Jane Black as “a kind of boot camp for aspiring pastamakers,” the school in Bologna offers one-day classes from around $100 per person. A five-day pasta course is about $350.

[Smart Mouth: In Italy, learning to make pasta the hands-on way]

But this pasta obsession — there’s a picture of spaghetti (or is it bucatini?) on Dev’s fridge, while the first descriptor in Ansari’s Twitter profile is “pasta lover” — is kind of an American thing. (A rep for the show said Ansari had to “politely decline” our request for a pasta interview.)

“Pasta’s only a small part of Italian cuisine,” Argondizza said. “Here in America we think pasta is everything.”

And — gasp! — “people don’t always eat it every day,” said Marchetti.

Plus, those who make it probably didn’t learn it in formal instruction. Marchetti’s mom taught her.

“You’d be better off finding a nonna to teach you how to do it,” she said.

We’d love to see Dev attempt that in the Season 2 (if there is one) opener.

Aziz: The dough ball’s in your court.

Correction: A previous version of this post misstated the number of days students spend studying pasta in the International Culinary Center’s Italian Culinary Experience program.

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