Risotto is a mainstay in the fall for me. I have loved it since my friend Kikki in Brooklyn made some for me with ingredients she brought back from her second home in Bormio. Every time I make it, I think about her bringing the big hunk of Parmesan out of its packaging and grating it liberally into the dish.
Everyone loves Tiramisu! I have never met anyone who doesn’t. Adults love the sophisticated mixture of cream and coffee. Kids love their first opportunity to consume some booze. What can go wrong? Tiramisu is not hard to make, you don’t even need to bake. However, I strongly discourage using white sponge cake or pre-made “Tiramisu filling” that is sold in grocery stores. That is not Tiramisu, that is closer to a trifle. The one thing you should be careful with is blending the egg yolks into the mascarpone mixture. I let my KitchenAid do it as I was kneading some baguette dough the other night, and my egg whites turned back to liquid! However, I found a way to bake that into an incredibly delicious “mascarpone cheesecake”! Stay tuned for the brand new recipe soon!
Gonzo and I argued about this dish a bit when I first introduced it during the Venetian dinner. Sweet and vinegary, “they won’t go for it”, he said. I was almost convinced to take out the raisins, but I am glad I kept them. Sardines are amazing! I don’t know why everyone here is so afraid of sardines and anchovies. Dusted with flour and fried, they turn decadent, especially when paired with the vinegar flavor of the marinated onions and the sweetness of the raisins. Make this dish several days in advance, it gets better with time. And don’t be afraid if you have too much liquid, the sardines soak up a lot.
The rains keep coming, and so do the tomatoes! I am really excited about my harvest this year! I was keeping count up to 90 on my 2 tomato plants, but now I have lost count of how many gorgeous tomatoes we have cooked and eaten this summer. I combined of our tomatoes with some super sweet wild cherry tomatoes from the Waverly Farmers Market that I bought and proceeded to forget about until today. The tomatoes already wilted a bit in the fridge, so I figured I would bake them up to use as a topping on pork or salmon or a spread on a slice of Kalamata Olive and Rosemary Baguette!
Eggplant is so tempting this time of year! I think I will try to grow some next summer! In the mean time, however, I keep buying it every weekend, so we have to keep cooking it. This week, I also wanted to make a bit of mozzarella and some pesto since my basil plant is getting pretty hefty.
Want to make your own pesto? I like a combination of arugula and basil for mine. I take about 4 cups of basil leaves and arugula leaves each, a half a cup of pine nuts, a cup of grated Parmesan, 4-6 garlic cloves, and enough olive oil to get to the consistency you like. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and adjust to your tastes.
During the summer (and all year really) my recipes revolve around the ingredients that I have surrounding me. This week I have plenty of eggplant and fresh corn on the cob. I decided I wanted to make a corn filled ravioli for a group of friends who were coming over for lunch. That lunch turned into a brunch, so I decided the most expedient way to solve my menu problem was to put an egg on it! Thus, I reinvented my Uova da Raviolo recipe from earlier this summer.
I really wanted to play up the corn, and didn’t want to waste the husks so I boiled them for about an hour and then used the water to both cook the pasta and flavor the sauce. It is traditional to use pasta water to thicken a sauce, so I figured the blending of the loose gluten from the pasta and the flavor of the corn would pair beautifully with a simple wine and sage butter sauce.
I was walking in the market and smelled this amazing melon, I decided I had to buy it! It turned out to be an Orange Flesh Chair Orange Honeydew. It is amazing! I highly recommend buying this melon if you see it. It has a thin exterior, and an amazing scent, kind of like honeysuckle. Once it is sliced, it looks like a standard melon, but tastes so much better!
I was thrilled to find that my garden was gloriously producing dozens of tomatoes, so it was time to harvest them! I was missing my caprese salads in Hawaii (well not too much, since I was feasting on poke and fresh mango daily). I decided to add a bit more intricacy to the dish by roasting up some eggplant to make a bed for the sliced tomatoes and torn mozzarella. I marinated them in a bit of salt and pepper while the eggplant roasted, and drizzled the whole situation with a simple lemon herb vinaigrette. It was glorious. I am sure this portion was meant for at least four people, but Nico and I almost ate the entire dish!