Thursday, August 30, 2012

Good Home Cooking

So, what’s the next best thing to going out to dinner?  Having someone else make it for you!  And what’s even better than that?  Having that someone (who she herself says she doesn’t cook much) be excited to try out on her friends some new recipes she’s learned from her trip to Italy!

Meet Coreen:

From our trip to the Sculpture Gardens in NJ - Peek-a-boo!

And see what she made us!

Involtini di Prosciutto con Arugula e Pecorino
(Prosciutto Rolled with Arugula and Pecorino Cheese)

2 dozen slices of prosciutto
2 dozen shavings of pecorino/parmesan or any other cheese to create a long rectangular piece to fit the width of the prosciutto
3 bunches of arugula (washed with hard stems removed)
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 fresh lemon, strained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Stuffed olives or other marinated antipasti vegetables

Mix arugula with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.  The arugula should be quite wet and tart.  Place a piece of prosciutto on a flat surface and add a small bunch of arugula to it together with a piece of cheese.  Roll tightly.  Arrange as an appetizer on a plate with 2 rolls of the prosciutto with marinated olives and other vegetable antipasti.  Drizzle with olive oil. 
You can add a piece of hard boiled egg or try blue cheese or gorgonzola to the roll.

All put together with some artichoke hearts, olives and Red Pepper
And as delicious, fresh and bright the flavors were in the rolls…I mean, the nuttiness of the Parm, the peppery bite of the arugula, the butteriness of the prosciutto – it really was a light, flavorful appetizer… My absolute favorite of the night was the sauce she made for the Pasta! 

Now, keep in mind…I can make a pretty mean tomato sauce (and I promise, the next time I make it… I’ll actually take measurements, write down my recipe and post it…Well, truth be told, I’ll probably post it many, many times as I never make it the same way twice!), but this was the first time I had seen a sauce made with Cherry Tomatoes. 
Yes, friends, I do know that tomato sauce is made with tomatoes.  I’m just saying… it’s usually the bigger tomatoes that are used…so it really flipped me out that it was made with the baby tomatoes.  Don’t ask why. I don’t even know why. Maybe the fact that cooking with baby anything kind of freaks me out.  Didn't I tell you not to ask why??

Tomatoes aside… or inside in this case, this was such a fantastic sauce…just the right amount of spice to make it sassy, the salami gave such a depth to the flavor, the ricotta – a touch of creaminess…It was the quickest most flavorful sauce I’d ever seen made!  It was so delicious that I forgot to take a picture first and just dug right in…so pardon the half eaten plate!

Carrunchio Sauce

Olive oil
Chopped garlic
1 cup Ventricina (Abruzzo spicy salami with sweet red pepper)
Bay leaf & sage, if desired
2 lbs cherry tomatoes cut small
Pinch of salt
Black pepper (if there’s no pepper in the salami)
½ lb fresh ricotta
Parmesan and grana cheese

Saute garlic and salami in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and herbs and cook for about 10 minutes to soften it.   Add ricotta to sauce and stir.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about a minute.  Add torn basil to the sauce.  Add to cooked pasta  (directly from the boiling water).  Add parmesan and grana cheese; stir to combine for 1 minute.  

Keep in mind, that lovely meal happened in April!  Yes, it was so delicious that I'm talking about it four months later.  It was a beautiful meal with fantastic company...and I can't wait to do it again (hint, hint Coreen!)

Many, many thanks Coreen!  And for the luscious Lemon infused Olive Oil you bought home for me... I use it every time I make my zucchini carpaccio (a recipe for a future blog!) and think of you!!

Until Next Time...

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