Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mamma Mia

Here I go with my shameless reminiscing about my summer spent in Italia... One of my favorite things about Italy is its food. The Italians have a whole culture built around cooking and eating, and I love it all. Italy is responsible for two of my biggest food obsessions: espresso and tiramisu, which also includes espresso, see a pattern here? While I was there I took a food and wine pairing class (rough life, I know). I came back with tons of recipes that I like to whip up every now and then when I'm missing it. This week I decided to go all out and make a big Italian feast with some of my favorites. Here's what's on the menu:

Caprese Salad
Penne with Tomato Cream Sauce
Beef Scallopini

Nothing beats having fresh ingredients, and luckily my mom has a mean little herb garden that helped out a lot with this meal.

Chopping the basil for the caprese and the pasta sauce.

I knew preparing this feast would be quite a task, so I called in my bestie Jordan for reinforcement. She's clearly ready to work.

This is by far my favorite textbook I've ever had. It's been used a time or two. Also, since I was going all out I brought out the legit olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I bought them while in Italy and save them for special occasions. They're that good.

While it was all consumed long ago, this is the label for my favorite wine from Italy, Gavi di Gavi. I've found Gavi stateside but have yet to find anything as memorable as this specific producer. 

Working on the pasta sauce.

Of course the dishes have to match the occasion.

The spread

And now for the grand finale... I take my tiramisu very seriously. I made it a day early so it could set up  in the fridge overnight.

A little cocoa powder dusting for the finishing touch

With my pride and joy!

I guess I can share the wealth. Here's all the recipes. Buon Appetito!

 olive oil
 balsamic vinegar
 salt & pepper

Slice and layer any way you like!

Penne w/ tomato cream sauce
12 plum tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
4 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
1/2 c heavy cream
500 g (appx. 1 box) penne pasta

Peel and coarsely chop tomatoes. Reserve juice. Mix tomatoes, juice, parsley, oregano, basil, s and p. Let stand. Melt butter in large pan. Add onion and garlic. Saute for 10 min.

Add tomatoes, mix. Cook over medium heat 1/2 hour. Add cream. Heat through. Serve over cooked pasta.

Beef Scallopini- serves 4
400g (appx. 14 oz.) beef (or veal) slices
1 glass dry white wine
flour to dust meat
4 Tbsp. butter
1Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Place beef slices between wax paper and pound thin (1/4 inch). Shake cutlets in paper bag containing flour, s and p.

Heat 1/2 of the butter in skillet and cook meat rapidly so it browns on both sides. Take meat out of skillet and pour in the rest of the butter and wine, creating a creamy sauce. Return beef to skillet and let simmer, covered for 5 minutes. Serve warm topped with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.

5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups mascarpone cheese
dash of salt
ladyfingers/sponge fingers cookies
2 cup espresso
cocoa powder

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Fold in the mascarpone. Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff and fold into the mixture. Spread a layer over the bottom of a 9x9 dish. Dip the ladyfingers in the coffee and place a layer over the cream in the dish. Repeat. Finish with a layer of the cream and a dusting of cocoa powder. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.


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