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Oct 1, 2011 05:34 AM

October 2011 COTM Companion Thread: The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens by Lynne Rossetto Kasper 

 Use this thread to discuss recipes from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.


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    1. Adriatic Grilled Shrimp p. 266

      Another quick and healthy dish. One starts by brining the jumbo shrimp in ice water and salt for 30 minutes . The shrimp (we had U12s- a little smaller than suggested) is dried and tossed in a mixture of minced dried tomatoes (not in oil), garlic, parsley, olive oil and hot red pepper flakes. I minced this on a cutting board, but I could have easily used the mini-food processor. Cook the shrimp on a grill, season with salt and pepper. Add the extra tomato mixture atop the shrimp after turning. Serve with a squeeze of lemon. Tonight both my husband and I agreed that we should make this again. It was quick and the shrimp had a nice flavor from the garlic and the sweet, concentrated dried tomatoes with a touch of heat. The squeeze of lemon adds a welcome touch.

      1. Brescia Garlic Bread and Green Bean Salad (Insalata Bresciana di Fagiolini), Pg. 45

        A very nice salad to be served as a first course or as a main as we did. Stem and tip fresh green beans and slice in 2" lengths. Instead of boiling the beans for 5 minutes, we steamed them till crisp tender.
        Rub a serving bowl with 1/2 a garlic clove and when the beans are done drain and tip them into the bowl then sprinkle with salt. Toast slices of thickly sliced country bread and rub each slice with the other half of garlic then tear into bite sized pieces. Add these to the bowl along with chopped tomatoes. Toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar, sprinkle S & P to taste and serve. I composed the dressing first in a small bowl then drizzled the salad with the dressing. Also, I added a few torn romaine and chicory leaves and served the salad with slices of leftover roast chicken on top.

        This could easily be a remake recipe for us. The tomatoes were very ripe and juicy which added to the overall flavor. All in all a successful final dish.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Yay! As I mentioned on another thread, I'll be making this next week. Plan on making it as a side to go with fish. My husband loves green beans, I find them a bit boring except when roasted, so I'm always excited to find a new recipe that actually appeals to me and has green beans. So glad it was a hit.

          1. re: Gio

            Made this (the garlic bread and green bean salad) just as written and we all absolutely loved it. The beans had a nice crispness, the tomatoes added a bit of juiciness, and the toast (I used sourdough) brought some chew and heft. What with the vinegar and the olive oil, you don't need much more. It really was a huge hit. When you're making something that it sitting in the oven roasting, and have the time for last minute work, this is a great side. I'll make it again.

            1. re: Gio

              Made this Brescia garlic bread and bean salad last night (as a side with swordfish steaks) and it was a hit, both with my diners--for its bright flavors and invitingly colorful aspect--and with me, for its ease! The only part that takes any time at all is trimming and cooking the beans, which I did ahead. I loved the fact that I could just put them and some chopped tomatoes in a bowl, then quickly toast some thick slices of whole-grain artisinal bread, rub same with garlic, tear them up and then toss everything together with evoo, red-wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. For something with relatively few ingredients, the salad packed a lot of flavor and contrasting textures. The bread adds a nice satisfying touch, too.
              I've made other panzanella-type salads that have taken longer to prepare and not been as ultimately satisfying. This one goes into the rotation.

            2. Home - Style Cauliflower and Red Onions (Cavolfiore alla Casereccia), Pg. 279

              Considering the fact that we didn't let the finished dish sit at room temperature for an hour to meld the flavors, this was a homey addition to the simple meal of green bean salad and leftover roast chicken we had prepared for dinner. In this case fresh ingredients really do make a difference. Careful preparation of the ingredients and diligence cooking each element brings out the individual flavors of each of the vegetables perfectly.

              Rinse and cut into florets a head of cauliflower. Steam the florets till crisp tender then drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add thinly sliced garlic and when they are almost colored remove them and set aside. Into the same skillet put a thinly sliced red onion, sauté till barely colored then tip in the drained steamed cauliflower, season with S & P. Cook for a couple of minutes turning so each floret is mixed with the seasoning and the onions. Mound on a platter, sprinkle with the reserve garlic and freshly ground black pepper. Strew torn basil leaves over and rest for at least an hour. G who does not particularly like cauliflower loved this.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Gio

                This book has my go to version of bucatini all'amatriciana (p 144). I really like how she suggests cooking half the whole tomatoes on high so they brown and concentrate a bit and then adding the rest of the whole tomatoes for a fresher tomato taste. You can find the recipe on google books. Heck most of the book is there!

              2. Leftovers - Pasta, Pg. 68

                While this is not exactly a revelation for me, I was pleased to see the suggestion for a pasta frittata in print. I've made this twice so far this month. Once with our own arrabbiatta sauced spaghetti and last night with Monday night's linguine in the winter tomato sauce. The first time I used a skillet and cooked it on top of the stove, last night I used a round baking tin, 9" x 1 1/2", and baked it in the oven per the suggestion in the book. Love this method and will use it again.

                Take any left over pasta, in whatever sauce it was originally made, and mix it with some eggs. I used 4 large eggs. Next I lightly oiled the baking tin and dumped the linguine in. G added a light layer of freshly grated Parmagiano and spread that over evenly. The tin was placed into a pre-heated 350F oven for 35 minutes till set. Absolutely delicious and quite filling. The side dish was Herb and Garlic Grilled Eggplant page 328 in The Splendid Table.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Gio

                  I've always done this--usually for a Sunday breakfast--w/plain pasta, mixing in eggs, parmesan, and pancetta or prosciutto, maybe some caramelized onion or leftover asparagus or peas (my sister goes crazy for this; my mom used to do the same thing), but I'd never thought to do it w/sauced pasta. Now I'm going to have to try this. Thanks for the tip.

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    nomad, you're making me salivate... did you ever think of adding a bit of half and half or cream so the eggs would be a bit softer?

                    1. re: crowsonguy

                      LOL--I have to be restrained from adding cream to almost everything. But, yes, I 'often add cream to this dish, to eggs in general.

                  2. re: Gio

                    I did this to use up the single leftover main-dish-sized serving of Tomato Sauce III with fettucine. Made a hearty breakfast for two when combined with four eggs. We didn't add any extra seasoning, the sauced pasta was sufficient to flavor the eggs. Nothing earth-shaking here, but it is a nice way to use up leftover sauced pasta, and get a nice breakfast or brunch dish out of it (or dinner, what the heck).