Monday, October 31, 2011

An Italian Feast

"It's getting each other through dark moments in life that friendships deepen."

It seems like the older I get, I have less time to spend with friends. Things get in the way, like work, family and following up on my own interests. Personally, I think one of the greatest things about getting older is that I have been able to focus more on myself, and I'm not all over the place, giving less than 100% to 20 things at a time (though I'm sure 1 or 2 of my friends would say differently!) But I miss my friends. We all have a lot going on: babies on the way, homes that need to be renovated, a wedding to plan and our own interests/family/work to throw themselves into. All that being said, I love going out to dinner with the girls. Since the weather has been more on the nippy side (and to reduce the cost of wine and dinner and more wine at a restaurant) I decided to invite 2 of my girlfriends over for a night of cooking and eating. The one caveat: they need to provide the recipes and do most of the cooking! This freed me up so that I could take pictures and nosh on guac and chips while they slave away in my kitchen! They agreed, and since they're both Italian- it was a buona sera indeed!

On the menu:
Eggplant Rollatini- with a homemade Italian red sauce recipe that is divine
Asparagus Frittata- wow, was this delicious and healthy!
Cucurumao (say that 5 times fast)- we had the most fun with this one; well I did because I'm 12

So, let's get started, shall we?

Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce (2 medium sized cans- Tutto Rosso Brand sauce)
½ to 1 onion
8-10 whole cloves of garlic
Pecorino Romano Cheese (buy whole and grate fresh)
4-5 stems of fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt / pepper
1 tsp of sugar

In a large pan with high heat add extra virgin olive oil
add the sliced onions (cut onions small or big- depending how you like it- we sliced ours all fancy) and saute
Add the garlic, (add full clove or cut in half so it’s easier to remove garlic and saute. Remember not to over cook the onion & garlic because if it's too dark, the sauce will taste funny.
Add the tomato cans, salt & pepper and mix.
Lower the heat to low and let simmer. Remember to keep mixing the sauce. You don’t want it to burn on the bottom of the pan.
Add 1 tsp of sugar. You can adjust depending on how sweet you want it (I prefer a sweet sauce.)
After 20 min of simmering, add basil and a handful of percorino romano cheese
Simmer for an additional 15 min or so. Set aside.

Eggplant Rollatini
2 large Eggplants
1 lb Fresh Ricotta
½ cup Shredded Mozzarella
½ cup Parmigiano Cheese
½ cup All Purpose Flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Tomato sauce (that we made)
Salt / pepper
Fresh basil

1. Combine fresh ricotta, ¼ cup of parmigiano and ½ cup of shredded mozzarella in a bowl.
    Add salt / pepper to taste. Set aside. 
2. Slice eggplant into ¼ inch slices. (cut large enough to roll the eggplant & mixture)
     Lightly coat with the all purpose flour. Fry the slices in the vegetable oil.
     Layer a plate with paper towels and place cooked eggplant to soak up the extra oil.
3. Roll the eggplant sizes up using the ricotta mixture & layer into a baking dish that is coated with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Top with more tomato sauce. Sprinkle the remaining parmigiano cheese and basil. 
4. Bake at 350 Degrees for 15-20 minutes.  

My friend Giusi, yes that's her real name (pronounced: Juicy) sent me an ingredient list and I thought it was cute, so I'm posting:
Before I forget, here are the ingredients:
eggs (dozen)
pomodoro pellato (sold in a large can, one is enough)
2 bunches of asparagus
white onions (1 large or 2 small)
salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil

1 large can of peeled tomatoes
1 small onion 
6 eggs
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tsp salt, 1tsp pepper

Slice or dice onion into a pan with olive oil until onions are slightly brown (Do not burn onions).
Dice the peeled tomatoes and pour into pan.  Add salt and pepper.  Let this simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.
In the meantime, beat 6 eggs (entire egg) and then mix in pan.  Mix frequently for 10-12 minutes.  You don't want it too soup-like, but not dry either.
Serve in bowl with bread.
This is a dish that looks pretty gross, but tastes SO good. 

Asparagus Frittata
8-10 eggs
2 bunches of asparagus (cut a bit of the end off)
1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper

Bring pot of water to a boil and then add asparagus.  Cook until you can stick a fork in the stem, but not too soft.
Remove the asparagus from water and place into a large bowl of ice (maintains crisp texture).
Beat 10 eggs in a bowl, add salt and pepper.

Once asparagus has cooled, cut in smaller pieces and place it in a pan already covered with Pam or olive oil.
Then pour eggs inside pan and let this cook on low heat until the bottom is completely cooked.
Try to flip the frittata so the other side can cook (constantly lift sides so it doesn't stick).
Once both sides are a light brown color and you can cut into it easily, remove from heat and serve.
Special thanks to Josephine & Giusi for a really fun and tasty night!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for having us over. The food was amazingly tasteful! I'm hungry just thinking about it. Great job on the post!