Thank God It's Foodie Friday!!
Yay! We have missed this party while we were gone! Come join us at Designs by Gollum for some fabulous food and friendship.
It's been blisteringly HOT lately as you all know. Hot enough to keep the kids indoors (YIKES!) and everyone feeling a bit lazy. Fortunately, things have improved some for homemakers since my Nonna and Grandma's time. I remember the steaminess in their kitchens on these dog days of summer and how they avoided the ovens at all costs.
We made wonderful antipasto meals, ate room temperature frittatas, and gorged ourselves on the fresh fruits and veggies from our gardens.
Nowadays, turning on the oven in my air conditioned house isn't so very horrible, but I still try to do any baking in the early morning cool (if you can call 89 degrees cool) and we do eat a LOT of cooler meals.
Tonight's dinner is a conglomeration of all the wonderful Farmer's Market bounty we've been enjoying this season. I haven't been feeling so well and my very wonderful friend dropped off several bagloads of goodies.
The zucchini went over particularly well- this is a dish I make often during the summer as I can vary the ingredients depending on what we have left over. Tonight's version with chicken was very flavorful and I just watched my Mom walk by munching on one as she talks on the phone :)
When it came to pasta I grew up with 2 different languages. To my Northern Italian Nonna it was "pasta" and there were 2 kinds of pasta. Minestra was pasta in a soup or broth and pasta asciutta ( translation- dry pasta) was pasta in a sauce of some sort. To my Grandma Josie pasta was always "macaroni" and macaroni was always served on Sundays and Thursdays.
Tonight's sauce was very typical of both my grandmother's during the summer. Salsa Cruda is "raw" sauce meaning the ingredients are not cooked. My addition- some ripe avocado. The creaminess adds to the dish and I fully believe Nonna would approve
Dessert was a request by a good friend. Normally, I make the dough, but today I cheated and used a store bought puff pastry dough. The cream horns are filled with a ricotta/ mascarpone cream. Come join Bramasole on Facebook for the recipe!
Zucchini Ripieni (Stuffed Zucchini)
6 medium or 8 smaller zucchini (not too large- they get bitter)
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scrape out the core leaving a "tunnel" in the shell
1 small carrot
1 small or 1/2 large onion
small bunch (about 1/4-1/3 cup) flat leaf parsley
1-2 cloves garlic
I put the carrot, onion, garlic, and parsley in a mini electric chopper and pulse till very finely diced. You can also do this by hand, but I'm feeling a bit lazy :) Set aside
Leftover cooked veal, beef, ham, or chicken ( I used about 1/2 of a baked chicken breast)
4 ounces prosciutto, diced (you can use cooked pancetta or even mortadella)
about 1/3 cup ricotta
about 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg- a good, healthy pinch
Put chicken, prosciutto, ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in food processor and process till finely chopped- almost a paste
2-3 diced very ripe or canned tomatoes
seasoned dry or toasted bread crumbs
Put the zucchini shells on the prepared baking sheet and fill the cavity with the meat mixture. Spread the vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle the tomato pieces on top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. If desired, drizzle with a bit of olive oil- I didn't today
Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tutti a tavola!!!
Pasta’sciutta Con Salsa Cruda
Bring a large well salted pot of water to a boil. Cook 1 pound of small shells, trenette, or other short chunky pasta. When pasta is al dente, drain and rinse with cool water to bring to room temperature. Drain
1/2 cup flavorful olives (Kalamata, Nicoise, etc), pitted and coarsely chopped
1 1/4- 1 1/2 lbs ripe cherry, grape, or plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped ( I used grape tonight)
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1 small or 1/4- 1/2 large red onion, finely diced
zest of 2 lemons, minced
1/2 cup olive oil plus more if dry
salt and pepper to taste- be sure to taste before serving!
Combine all above ingredients in a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature while pasta is cooking and greens are being washed and cut
Wash, dry, and coarsely julienne:
a handful of basil leaves
a small bunch of arugula
a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves (cut out any stems)
Dice 2 large, ripe avocados and place on top of the tomato mixture. Juice a lemon and pour juice over avocado- stir all gently to combine. Put pasta and greens in a large bowl and pour on the tomato sauce. Toss to combine- Enjoy!
Cream Horns with Ricotta/ Mascarpone Cream
You can cascade fresh fruit from the horns, but my family scoffed these up as soon as I set them on the table- I was lucky to get the pictures!
***Just a heads up- for some unknown reason, many bloggers got a notice yesterday saying that our blog backgrounds are disappearing TOMORROW. In case you haven't heard, I am a total techno- dummy and Allie isn't home tonight to help me through this crisis. Sooooo, if you happen to visit us after Friday and we look a little strange, it's because I haven't figured out the background thing. It's gonna be a loooong night!
Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie