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October 2011 COTM: Splendid Table: Antipasto, Risotto, Soup & Vegetable First Courses

LulusMom Oct 1, 2011 01:57 AM

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapters about Antipasto, and Risottto, Soup and Vegetable First Courses.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Gio Oct 2, 2011 06:28 AM

    Salad of Tart Greens with Prosciutto and Warm Balsamic Dressing, Pg. 26

    Fantastic salad. Tons of flavor sensations from all the ingredients. The dressing was so intriguing: acetic, oily, salty, sweet... just warm enough so the greens did not wilt. Could be a main dish salad with the addition of a few other ingredients. But as it was, it was delicious. We added unseasoned fresh ciabatta croûtons to mop up the dressing. I halved the recipe.

    The first thing to do is soak a very thinly sliced red onion in some vinegar for 30 minutes. I made the dressing next: In hot olive oil slowly cook minced garlic for 8 minutes without coloring. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same oil add a combination of red wine vinegar and balsamico and cook for a few minutes then add a bit of brown sugar. Stir then add the reserved garlic and season with S & P. Set aside while you finish the salad.

    The salad consists of the rinsed and torn leaves of romaine, radicchio, red leaf lettuce, curly endive (chicory)., basil and parsley. I used the inner leaves of all these greens. Also, thinly sliced scallions, chopped prosciutto, pine nuts (omitted), and shaved Parmigiana Reggiano are tossed to mix then arranged on a platter. Reheat the dressing for a bit then drizzle on the salad adding the drained red onion slices, a smattering of more pine nuts, cheese and prosciutto. I simply put everything into a large vintage wooden bowl and tossed the salad as usual. We enjoyed this salad very much and the dressing was wonderful. I'm going to use it for other vegetables as well...think roasted red peppers, steamed broccoli...

    The main dish was roasted Haddock with fresh salsa. That's really all we needed for a terrific dinner.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Gio
      c
      ChiliDude Oct 2, 2011 10:28 AM

      I wear my cookbook. It's an apron that I wear when I make my 'arrabbiata minestrone denso' that I eat every morning from breakfast to keep in total cholesterol and blood glucose values down. The minestrone can be used as a 'prima' at dinner.

      The apron states "I don't need a recipe...I'M ITALIAN." The ingredients tend to vary for each 12 breakfast batch made in a very large stockpot.

      1. re: ChiliDude
        Jay F Oct 2, 2011 10:53 AM

        I don't _need_ to use recipes or cookbooks either, but sometimes it's nice to see what someone else has to say on a subject near and dear, such as eating and cooking in Emilia-Romagna.

        Sure, there's the way I do things, and I like the way I do things, but what's wrong with learning other ways? I'm going to make a new (to me) ragu out of LRK's SPLENDID TABLE, and a seafood salad out of Joyce Goldstein's ANTIPASTI this week.

        Even though eating Italian is one of my earliest influences, and I'm a pretty old dog by now, there's always some new trick to be learned. Speaking of which, I really like your idea of eating minestrone for breakfast. I think I'll try it, too.

        1. re: ChiliDude
          Gio Oct 3, 2011 05:31 AM

          My heritage is Italian, Chilidude, as far back as we.ve gone so far: the 12th century, both on my Mother's and Father's side. So I have many family recipes and inspirations to accompany my ventures in the kitchen. However, it's edifying to recreate recipes others have experienced and written about. I don't Need a cookbook either. But it's fun to use them.

          1. re: Gio
            c
            ChiliDude Oct 5, 2011 06:29 AM

            I miei antenati non erano italiani, ma i nonni di mia moglie erano venuti da Italia. Our grandchildren can go back only 5 generations, and altho my genes are not Italian, I'm the family historian. My late father-in-law made sure that I knew some of the family history.

            I'm the risotto cook because I have the patience and creativity to make risotto. My wife of 51+ years is the risotto critic.

            1. re: ChiliDude
              Gio Oct 5, 2011 07:01 AM

              Sì. Capisco le vostre risposte da altri ...

              In my house I'm the designated risotto cook becauce my husband, di 51 anni più anche, has neither the patience nor inclination. He likes to eat it though.

        2. re: Gio
          bayoucook Oct 2, 2011 10:30 AM

          I am going to make that this week - yum!

          1. re: bayoucook
            c
            ChiliDude Oct 3, 2011 04:46 AM

            Although I'm a devout carnivore, my ingredient list for 'arrabbiata minestrone denso' includes 2 kinds of dried beans, lentils, split peas, barley, onion, celery, carrots, a large can of crushed tomatoes, baked sweet potatoes mashed, minced garlic, a head of green cabbage and minced fresh or frozen peperoncini (of course, some extremely incendiary) either homegrown or bought. Sometimes the midribs of chard or kale if my wife has bought it and has removed the ribs from the leaves. Leftovers often are tossed in the 8-quart stockpot. The cooking water from the beans is reserved and used.

            The resulting minestrone is a thick bean stew and the yield is enough for at least 12 breakfasts stored in 2 serving plastic containers.

            Buon appetito!

            1. re: ChiliDude
              bayoucook Oct 3, 2011 05:13 AM

              Wow! That healthy mixture would cure anything.

              1. re: bayoucook
                d
                dkennedy Oct 4, 2011 09:46 PM

                Imola's Risotto of the Vigil, p. 214

                This is a wonderful one pot meal that will have you returning to the pot for seconds. It is a hearty dish with sautéd cabbage, beef and salt pork incorporated into the risotto. I know it is customary to make risotto just before serving but I have found that this particular risotto holds well on the stove for up to two hours before serving. Just undercook the risotto slightly and add a bit more stock and cheese prior to reheating and serving. Leftovers make a very special version of aranchini.

              2. re: ChiliDude
                jen kalb Oct 5, 2011 08:20 AM

                quite an improvisation! looks like it would set you up very well for the day. No onions, carrots celery or parsley?

                1. re: jen kalb
                  Gio Oct 5, 2011 10:16 AM

                  I don't see parsley either but I do see, "onion, celery, carrots"...

                  1. re: Gio
                    jen kalb Oct 5, 2011 02:27 PM

                    I must be blind. sorry, chilidude

                2. re: ChiliDude
                  m
                  magiesmom Oct 8, 2011 06:00 AM

                  All my favorite things! I am curious why baked and mashed sweets instead of just cooking them along with other ingredients?

              3. re: Gio
                h
                hyperbowler Oct 6, 2011 02:20 AM

                I enjoyed this recipe too. One suggestion though--- if you have a big enough platter, I'd recommend following her advice and serving it on the platter. Like you did, I tossed the ingredients in a bowl. This resulting in a damn tasty salad, but the prosciutto crumbled up, and several ingredients settled on the bottom of the bowl.

                1. re: hyperbowler
                  Gio Oct 6, 2011 04:46 AM

                  Many thanks for this tip, hyperbowler. Since I was cooking for only 2 of us I thought I'd take the easy way out and only have to clean my wooden salad bowl. I did notice the prosciutto had crumpled but because we tossed the salad several times and once before serving I didn't notice any items without dressing on the bottom. I'll remember your caution though.

                2. re: Gio
                  nomadchowwoman Oct 25, 2011 03:55 PM

                  Salad of Tart Greens with Prosciutto and Warm Balsamic Dressing, Pg. 26

                  I should have followed Gio's lead here and served this hearty salad as the LONE accompaniment to a simple main like grilled fish or steak. It would also, as Gio notes, make a nice main dish salad. I served this w/grilled ribe eye and wild mushroom "farrotto," and it made for a too busy meal. This salad needs to play a bigger role in a meal.

                  Still it was as delicious as I remembered, having made it a few times many years ago.

                  For the greens, I used a mix of radicchio, red leaf lettuce, baby romaine, and arugula. And since we enjoy raw red onion (and I was short on time), I skipped the step of taming it in RW vinegar. I had no fresh basil, unfortunately; that said, we could really taste the parsley, which was particularly good. I also didn't end up adding brown sugar to the dressing and used twice as much balsamic as RW vinegar. I love the prosciutto, pine nuts, and shaved parmigiano in this salad--but think it would be excellent w/out the prosciutto, too.

                  1. re: Gio
                    Goblin Jun 11, 2012 07:30 PM

                    Salad of Tart Greens with Prosciutto and Warm Balsamic Dressing, p 26.

                    Finally made this last night as the first course for a dinner party, and I must add to the accolades. It is a very fresh-tasting and tasty dish with an agreeable and varied mixture of textures and a delicious warm garlicky-balsamic dressing. I followed the directions and first tossed the undressed greens and various other ingredients together, then spread them out on a platter, then topped it all with some reserved pine nuts, cheese, prosciutto, scallions, and red onion, and THEN ladled the warm dressing over at the table. I served my eight guests on their salad plates at the table, and it was a nice moment. Some had seconds!

                  2. h
                    hyperbowler Oct 6, 2011 02:37 AM

                    p. 16 marinated baby onions.

                    The recipe was straightforward and easy. I used a mixture of the biggest red, white, and yellow baby pearl onions I could find, none of which had a diameter as big as what she specifies in the recipe. For the balsamic vinegar, I used Trader Joe's gold label. For the wine, I used Charles Shaw Cabernet....

                    I got nervous when I unearthed these after 7 days in the fridge. They were pretty slimy looking, so I drained them before any guests could see. The initial impression aside, the recipe was a huge success. These were some of the best marinated vegetables I've ever eaten. They had a good balance of sugar and acidity, and they tasted great by themselves and even better with some prosciutto di parma.

                    p. 18. I followed the recipe to the letter. By themselves, the marinated vegetables were unbearably acidic. Looking in my cabinet, I realized that I used a 7% acidity white wine vinegar. If you want to make this recipe, I'd recommend using a 6%. However, these did work nicely when paired with some fatty salami-- the acidity did a nice job of cutting through their fat.

                    1. Gio Oct 7, 2011 06:14 AM

                      Paola Bini's Potato Salad (Insalata di Patate Paola Bini), Pg. 19

                      This salad was outstanding. G & I couldn't help but pick at the bowl as I mixed all the ingredients together even though I had to omit one of the main ingredients. Ideally, I should have made the Balsamic Vegetables on page 18 first and used 1 1/2 cups of that. That's essentially Giardiniera, so I suppose prepared Italian pickled vegetables could be used in a pinch but I didn't even have that. Nevertheless, what I did put together was wonderful.

                      We steamed 2 pounds of small red-skinned potatoes and while they were cooking I made the dressing:
                      Into a large bowl I put diced leeks, celery, red wine vinegar (to compensate for the vegetable marinade), balsamic vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. When the potatoes are just tender cut into a large dice and add to the bowl bit by bit, as they are sliced, but don't stir yet. When all the potatoes are in the bowl, gently fold the potatoes into the dressing. Cover and refrigerate till served, then taste for S & P and garnish... I used chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves.

                      This was delicious! I must say, though, the color of the salad was decidedly beige. The garnish did help and the flavor saved the day... but.. Perhaps the balsamic vegetables would have made a difference... we'll see because I do intend to make that recipe in the very near future. This salad accompanied the poached fish from The Italian Country Table and Garlic Sautéed Cabbage on page 331 of The Splendid Table. Altogether a terrific meal.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Gio
                        bayoucook Oct 7, 2011 06:43 AM

                        oh, that sounds so good - finally looked forward to cooking from COTM cookbooks and I'm having heel problems - plantar faciitis - still working but am off my feet off work. Maybe by next week I can participate.

                        1. re: bayoucook
                          d
                          dkennedy Oct 8, 2011 05:13 AM

                          I am with you Bayoucook. The fates are conspiring against me this month in terms of cooking. My DH is traveling for the first 1/2 of the month leaving me to fend for myself with my brood. The closest I have come to cooking lately is making lobster tacos. The good news is I have lost nearly 5 lbs. since I stopped cooking (I also rejoined WWs) so that might have something to do with it. Hope to be back on my game by next weekend.

                          Hope your foot feels better soon.

                          1. re: dkennedy
                            LulusMom Oct 8, 2011 05:27 AM

                            woohoo on the 5 lbs!

                            1. re: LulusMom
                              d
                              dkennedy Oct 8, 2011 05:33 AM

                              Thanks, I have been working really hard on it! So much more difficult to shed the pounds as the years creep by.

                        2. re: Gio
                          Tom P Oct 12, 2011 08:56 AM

                          I will agree that it is outstanding ... and it is even better with the Balsamic Vegetables. Wow. I will do a post below on them but it is worth the effort. Best. Potato. Salad. Ever.

                        3. pikawicca Oct 8, 2011 06:41 AM

                          Paola Cavazzini's Eggplant Torte, p. 241

                          Wow. A lot of work, but wow. An unusual dish, with a couple of unusual components. It was time-consuming, but fun to put together. Definitely use real Italian Fontina, as the taste is important to the dish. (I place a cube of cheese on top of each eggplant slice.)

                          Pretty labor-intensive for a first course. I would start the meal with a green salad, then serve the Torte over angel hair pasta (the eggplant is very "saucy."), or accompany with crusty garlic bread.
                          Fruit for dessert.

                          Note: You can make the 3 sauces days ahead.

                          1. mirage Oct 12, 2011 04:50 AM

                            Valentino's Pizza, p. 29

                            Well, this is certainly easy to do. Store-bought puff pastry base. Topping is sauteed onions and shredded carrots, fontina and parmesan cheeses. My husband and I thought this was fine - good enough, but probably wouldn't make it again. My guests, on the other hand, loved it and ate tons.

                            1. Tom P Oct 12, 2011 09:01 AM

                              Balsamic Vegetables p.18 / Paola Bini's Potato Salad p.19

                              I put these together because while you can eat the vegetables on their own (and they are wonderful), they also are a key ingredient to the potato salad, which, as noted above, is The Best. Potato. Salad. Ever.

                              For the veggies, you make a marinade, bring it to a boil and fast cook peppers, cauliflower and pearl onions. After reducing the marinade slightly, you cover the veggies and let them sit in the fridge. Great as an antipasto.

                              The potato salad... well, it has mayo but less than normal and between the seasonings, the vegetables and the dressing, it is to die for. I've been making both for years, since I bought this wonderful book a while back. People go insane over the potato salad, which is easy once you have the vegetables in the fridge.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Tom P
                                h
                                haiku. Oct 12, 2011 02:39 PM

                                Is it this potato salad? http://www.publicradio.org/columns/sp...

                                1. re: haiku.
                                  h
                                  hyperbowler Oct 12, 2011 04:40 PM

                                  No. She lists several potato salad recipes on her website, but none showcase Balsamic Vegetables as in the recipe "Tom P" cooked.

                              2. Goblin Oct 14, 2011 08:14 AM

                                Oven-Roasted Potatoes, p. 344

                                This method is not complicated, though it has a few steps, and results in lovely golden brown potato quarters, with a nice flavorful crust when just out of the oven. Plus, for added convenience, Rossetto-Kasper states in the intro: "although the process requires attention, it can be done ahead; the potatoes reheat well just before serving."

                                Here's the method and timing, which I followed exactly: four pounds of medium-size red-skinned potatoes are parboiled (about 8 minutes) until barely tender, then cooled in cold water before quartering. No peeling. Spread them out in a pan, sprinkle with 5 TBs of olive oil, plus s & p, turn to coat, and roast at 425 F till they begin to color, about 40 minutes. Then add another 1-2 TBS of olive oil, add 6 fresh sage leaves and/or a 3-inch sprig of rosemary, and 2 ounces of chopped pancetta. This last is optional but makes it really tasty. Gently turn occasionally " as you roast them for another 30 - 40 minutes till they are very crisp and a deep golden brown."

                                I was interested in trying this recipe because I've never yet been able successfully to reheat fully roasted potatoes to their optimal crisp, brown, yet plump state, and I wanted to see if this works. So as instructed, I roasted the potatoes until very crisp and brown and rested them at room temp for a few hours,. Their skins turned wrinkly and tough as they sat, and reheating them for the recommended "about 15 minutes" at 400 F didn't improve them. I was disappointed. I think that the original recommended roasting time of 40 minutes plus another 30-40 minutes with the added oil and herbs, is just too long for successful reheating. They tasted excellent just out of the oven, however.

                                Guess I'll go back to the "serve ASAP method."

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Goblin
                                  jen kalb Oct 14, 2011 08:38 AM

                                  except for the skins, it would probably reheat just fine, right?

                                  1. re: jen kalb
                                    Goblin Oct 14, 2011 11:14 AM

                                    Ya know, it might. I should probably give this a try with some already-peeled taters and see what happens to the outside when they sit at room temp.
                                    I hate to give up those fiber-rich peels, though!

                                  2. re: Goblin
                                    q
                                    qianning Oct 14, 2011 08:42 AM

                                    Good try! It would be great to have an oven roasted potatoes recipe that could be held, wouldn't it?

                                    1. re: qianning
                                      Goblin Oct 14, 2011 11:12 AM

                                      Yes, it would. I should mention that Rossetto-Kasper's recipe does say that the finished potatoes can be held in a "low oven" for not more than 20 minutes. I just wanted the luxury of preparing them earlier in the day.

                                    2. re: Goblin
                                      LulusMom Oct 14, 2011 01:45 PM

                                      I've never tried this method with roasted potatoes, but I've done it with both leftover pizza and leftover fried calamari, and it really does do a nice job of getting it hot while also adding the crispness wanted (to the bottom of the crust on the pizza). Heat a notstick pan over high heat and then add whatever it is you are trying to revive, shake around a few times (this, obviously, is especially important with the fried calamari). I can't tell you how much of an improvement it is over other methods of reheating pizza, and it makes leftover restaurant calamari worth bringing home. I think it could work with recrisping the potato skins too.

                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                        Goblin Oct 16, 2011 03:33 PM

                                        Thanks, Lulusmom, I'm going to try this method with some leftover "coins" of oven-roasted sweet potatoes tonight!

                                    3. Breadcrumbs Oct 16, 2011 07:30 AM

                                      Thumb Pasta and Tomato Braised Beans Picenza Style – p. 229

                                      In her notes, LRK mentions that this dish comes together very easily, especially if each of its components is prepared ahead. I’m all about speed and ease these days so I’m happy to report that LRK was right, this delicious dish came together in no time.

                                      Here are my notes on the individual components of the dish and, modifications, if applicable:

                                      Pasta: The “thumb pasta” was freshly made, just not by me! I purchased it at a shop that imports fresh pasta from Italy.

                                      Beans: I took advantage of the fact that I’m still able to get fresh borlotti beans at the market so my cooking time and method differed somewhat. I was able to eliminate the first 2 hour simmer intended for dry beans and simply covered my fresh beans w cold water, tossed in the sage and rosemary LRK calls for and, I also added in 2 large cloves of garlic for some added flavour. My beans were cooked in 35 mins. LRK has you finish the beans by simmering them in the tomato sauce for 1.5hrs. Since this wasn’t necessary in my case, I simply added the beans to the reduced sauce.

                                      Tomato Sauce: This is the heart and soul of the recipe in my view. Pancetta is rendered in olive oil prior to adding parsley and onions to the pan to cook to a rich brown colour. Garlic and basil are then added along w some tomato paste and all is mixed together prior to adding in 28oz of tomatoes. This mixture then simmers for 5 mins prior to adding in the beans (if you are using dried). In my case I simply allowed the sauce to simmer for 1.5 hrs prior to adding my cooked borlotti beans.

                                      To serve, the individual components are tossed together then plated. I had reserved some of the beans so I plated some plain beans and then topped with the sauced pasta.

                                      This made for a rich, hearty, simple and delicious meal. I was surprised that the pancetta flavour was discernable in the final dish given that only 2 oz were used. The flavour of the pancetta definitely added to the richness of the sauce. I’d recommend this recipe without reservations. Enjoy!

                                       
                                       
                                       
                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                        d
                                        dkennedy Oct 18, 2011 09:03 AM

                                        Finally getting around to cooking this month. Business travel, weight watchers, and life in general has been conspiring against me this month. Last night at long last put a 100 % home cooked meal on the table.

                                        Fresh pears with Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Vinegar, p. 30

                                        A simple starter consisting of thinly sliced pears, good balsamic and a knob of cheese. Simple but delicious. Important to let your pears fully ripen and that you use fresh, crumbly parmesan. I have a wonderful balsamic I brought back from the ER region a few years back. Sadly, I am nearing the end of my bottle. This would be great topped with a handful of arugula.

                                        1. re: dkennedy
                                          Allegra_K Oct 18, 2011 09:15 AM

                                          This cuisine seems to not favour the weight watchers diet very much! Nor the wallet, for that matter.
                                          I am hoping to try this dish; I have the pears ripening on my counter. It sounds so elegant.

                                          1. re: Allegra_K
                                            d
                                            dkennedy Oct 18, 2011 09:48 AM

                                            Yes, not a weight watcher friendly cookbook, but what is? I am not going nuts with WW, just eating smaller portions and keeping track of how much I am really putting in my mouth. What's nice is these days you can go online and put any recipe in and find out its point value so you can stay on track and still cook. That is what I am doing. The scary part is when you calculate how many points pasta with homemade ragu is, you no longer want to eat it! I never want to become one of those people who doesn't want to eat ragu!

                                            My husband was traveling for 12 days this month and I really learned that I eat very differently when he is around. A lot more red meat and starches.

                                            As I've said before, this is one of my all time favorite cookbooks. I have tried all the ragus, and a lot of the main dishes so this is forcing me to focus my attention on some of the less hearty dishes.

                                          2. re: dkennedy
                                            q
                                            qianning Oct 23, 2011 05:27 PM

                                            Fresh Pears w/ P-R & Balsamic

                                            Made this on the spur of the moment the other night, as dinner was in the oven and the aroma was too much to bear, we were hungry now, so what to do? since I had ripe pears dkennedy's write up of this came to mind. She summed it up well, "simple but delicious",

                                        2. Breadcrumbs Oct 18, 2011 05:17 PM

                                          Grilled Chicken Pieces (Not) in Sicilian Mint Sauce – p. 48

                                          Sadly, my mint melted into a sloppy mess in the “crisper” (and I use the term lightly!) of my fridge so, this was just plain old Grilled Chicken Pieces at casa bc. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed it.

                                          LRK has you toss the chicken pieces w evoo, lemon zest, oregano, salt & pepper then marinate in the fridge for 1 – 6 hrs. Ours marinated for 4 hours before sprinkling w salt and grilling on our new Weber gas grill outdoors. LRK provides indoor grill pan instructions too.

                                          Our chicken breasts were organic, juicy and flavourful and totally delicious served atop some roasted, balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts.

                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
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