April Class 2018
The word “classic” can be defined as “judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind; remarkably and instructively typical”. Those of you getting to know me can tell by now that I love the classics. However, that does not mean that they have to be prepared only one way, every time. Classic ingredients can be combined in creative ways to broaden your repertoire.
This menu highlights all things I love about Italian cuisine, but is re-interpreted in fun and tasty ways. We have the classic combination of tomato, basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with pasta, a beautiful fish course that borrows from the tried and true, and I dessert that is deliciously satisfying, but not too sweet. As always I strive to make recipes that can be easy enough for the weekday, but fancy enough for the weekend entertaining. The pasta and fish take it just 10 minutes to cook. And the desert is made totally ahead, making for perfect entertaining.
So what are we cooking?
Pasta with Caramelized Tomatoes, Basil, & Cheese:
This pasta is a simple recipe, with just a few ingredients, but overflows with flavor. Grape or cherry tomatoes are roasted in the oven until their tomato flavor is intensified into sweet caramelized little jewels. When you bite into them, they just explode with flavor. It takes a little bit of cooking time to achieve this, but it’s so worth it. They can be cooked in advance, and then added to the sauce at serving time. In the summer time, I roast them often and keep them on hand to sprinkle in other dishes to give them a pop of that tangy, intensely sweet tomato goodness! The sauce is so simple: the roasted tomatoes, onions, basil,
my favorite cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a little of the pasta cooking water coat the pasta and turn it into a sublimely delicious dish that is light, but so packed with flavor.
“Saltimbocca” translates into “jump in the mouth”. This classic dish is traditionally made with meat, such as veal or pork, but I thought it would be fun to try with fish. The fish is topped with sage leaves and wrapped in prosciutto. I like to use s firm white fish. Halibut is in season now so I’m using it but you can use any firm white fish. The simple, clean taste of the fish is complemented by the herby flavor of the sage and the saltiness of the prosciutto. We serve it on a bed of sautéed spinach, with the light lemon butter sauce. The whole dish came together in 15 minutes, quick and easy for a weeknight meal, but a great dish for entertaining because the fish-wraps can be prepared in advance and just popped into the oven before serving.
Orange & Pistachio Semifreddo:
“Semifreddo” translates into “slightly soft”. Semifreddos can be made with a variety of ingredients that span a wide range of flavor profiles. In this menu, we are making an Orange Pistachio Semifreddo. This is a frozen dessert has 3 parts to make it; the whipped cream, the Zabaglione, and the meringue. Each step takes a little time to come together and then it requires eight hours for it to chill firm. But all your efforts will be rewarded! When you cut into it, there’s a soft, pillowy texture that is just dreamy. The combination of orange and Cointreau adds a sweet tartness. The pistachios add the perfect blend of crunchy saltiness that completely balances the pasta and fish courses, and is the perfect way to end a meal.