Wednesday, July 24, 2019

FIGS WITH GOAT CHEESE, ROSEMARY, & PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA

Ernest Novello (his Americanized name) had a fig tree in his backyard in Richmond, Virginia. I believe it kept him close in heart to his Italian heritage. Figs are the fruit of the Ficus tree and are an excellent source of dietary fiber and potassium. They also contain prebiotics which helps support the pre-existing good bacteria in the gut. Don't eat too many at one time due to their laxative effect. Figs should not be washed until ready to eat. The variety I used is called Brown Turkey. 


6 Brown Turkey figs, stems cut off and figs cut in half, lengthwise
4 oz log of goat cheese, room temperature
2 t fresh rosemary leaves, minced
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 oz Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Place the figs, cut side up, on a work surface.
In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, minced rosemary leaves, and black pepper.
Using a small spoon, add a small amount on top of each cut side of the figs.

Tear small pieces of Prosciutto and place a little on top of the goat cheese.
Place figs on a serving platter and drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil.

You can serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Let come to room temperature before serving.

Serves 4 to 6 as appetizers


MASCARPONE AND RASPBERRY ICE CREAM

When raspberries are in season, why not make ice cream with mascarpone cheese? If you love raspberries, you will love this ice cream.



4 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup mascarpone cheese
1 t pure vanilla extract
½ cups heavy cream or half-and-half
1 cup chopped fresh raspberries

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a heat-proof bowl. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk for about 5 minutes.

Place bowl in a sink with some cold water. 
Whisk for another 2 minutes to cool the mixture down.

Stir in the vanilla, cream or half-and-half, and the raspberries.

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Spoon into a covered container and place in your freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serves 6

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

LEMON SORBET WITH PROSECCO - Sgroppino al Limone

Traditionally, sgroppino is a refreshing aperitif that is said to have originated in Venice, Italy and is served blended, but this is another way to serve it as a dessert. With the abundance of lemons on the Amalfi Coast, I think it could have been invented there. This is so refreshing on a warm summer evening.




1 cup chilled Prosecco
¼ cup chilled plain or lemon-flavored vodka 
Good-quality lemon sorbet

Fresh mint leaves


Pour ½ cup Prosecco into each champagne flute or Irish coffee glass. 
Equally, divide the limoncello and vodka into each flute or glass.
Add 2 to 3 scoops of lemon sorbet.

Top with mint and serve immediately.

Serves 2 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

CHICKEN VESUVIO

This is my version of the traditional Chicago Italian-American dish. Everyone loves a one-pot meal or in this case, a one-baking pan meal. I cooked this in a large roasting pan even though I only had 3 very large chicken breasts. It is important to have the chicken and potatoes in one layer, to ensure even browning. After baking, I transferred the dinner to a prettier baking pan suitable for the table and for my photo.


4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or whole chicken legs
1 T balsamic vinegar
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
4 lemons
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 T freeze-dried oregano or 3 T fresh oregano leaves
½ cup Sicilian or Spanish olives, cut in half
¼ cup capers, drained
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the chicken in a large baking pan.
Brush balsamic vinegar over the chicken.
Add the potatoes to the pan and scatter on the olives and capers.

Squeeze the juice from three lemons into a small bowl.
Add the garlic, olive oil, and oregano.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Pour evenly over the chicken and potatoes.

Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and baste with pan juices.
Return to oven and continue to bake another 30 minutes, until chicken is brown and potatoes are golden and tender.

Transfer chicken and potatoes to a platter, pretty baking pan, or individual plates.
Slice the 4th lemon into thin slices and tuck in between potatoes and chicken.
Pour pan juices over and serve with a green vegetable or salad.


Serves 4