25 October 2012

dinner party italian style

We recommend a great dinner with family and friends this weekend where stress free Italian food is served. The recipes were published in the first issue of Home and Delicious.

–Prosciutto with Boiled Pears and Goat Cheese–
–Fresh Lemon Penne with Porcini Mushrooms and Pine Nuts_
–Tuscan Apple Cake–

All recipes put together make a delicious and atmospheric meal. This menu draws on Italians exceptional talent for enjoying the simple pleasures of good food and good company.
To see the recipes read more below. 

Prosciutto with Boiled Pears and Goat Cheese

6 dl water
6 dl dry white wine
250 g powdered sugar
4 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced

4-6 slices prosciutto per person, depending on the size of the slices
6 tbs soft goat cheese (or other soft cheese), 1 tbs/person

(Optional) salad:
lemon juice
olive oil

Place water, wine, and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Place the pears in the syrup and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the liquid once soft. The pears also make for a delicious dessert with ice cream or whipped cream.

With salad: Toss the arugula with lemon juice and olive oil. Place a bed of salad on a platter, or on individual plates for each serving. Arrange the slices of prosciutto and pear on top and place a tablespoon of goat cheese in the center. Notice, salad is optional and you can serve the dish without it.

 Fresh Lemon Penne with Porcini Mushrooms and Pine Nuts

300-400 g penne pasta
2 tbs butter
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
30 g porcini mushrooms
1 dl water
1 dl white wine
2 tbs chopped, fresh herbs to taste, f.ex. parsley, thyme, and sage
juice and fine zest of ½ lemon
2 dl cream or sour cream
50 g toasted pine nuts
50 g parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper or a dried chili pod

Pour water and wine in a pot and let the mushrooms simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Remove them from the pot, squeeze the liquid out and set it aside. Soften the garlic in butter. Place the mushrooms in the skillet with the garlic and let soften for 5 minutes. Add the herbs.
 Add 1 dl of the mushroom broth to the skillet and bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice and zest, then cream or sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Proponents of a spicier dish might enjoy adding some dried chili, but it is best combined with the mushrooms and garlic in the skillet before adding the broth.
 Combine with the boiled pasta, stir well, add the pine nuts and the parmesan and serve.

Tuscan Apple Cake

8-10 thick slices of white bread with crusts removed
3 dl milk
3 eggs
90 g powdered sugar
3 tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs butter, melted
2 ½ dl cream
1 ½ apples, thickly sliced

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a 24 cm/9 in. springform* with butter or baking paper. Place the bread in a shallow bowl and soak with the milk. Let stand for about 20 minutes or until the bread is soaked through.
Combine eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, and butter to make a light batter and carefully fold in the cream.
Squeeze the milk out of the bread, press it lightly into the bottom of the springform, line the apple slices on top in a circular pattern and pour the batter over it. Let stand for 10 minutes before placing in the oven for 50 minutes or until golden and moist.
Allow to cool slightly in the form and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

*This cake needn’t necessarily be baked in a spring form; an oven-safe pan will do fine.

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