Sunday, October 09, 2011

I vicini

When my new neighbors moved in I quickly learned that Wendy loves to cook. I "speak" Italian these days and she speaks "Southern." So I will probably learn to make hush puppies and deep fry. LOL. She had never made noodles. So I suggested we cook an Italian meal together for her family and that is what we did yesterday.

Here are the appetizers: squares of fried polenta (why, they're like grits! yep) with a spread of goat cheese and roasted garlic, topped with sliced of kalamata olive, roasted red pepper, and capers. Dry toasted almonds in the upper right.

This is the loaf of bread I worked so hard on. Wendy wanted to dip it in the sauce for the lasagne and just forget everybody else. I threatened her life if anything happened to this loaf before everyone had seen it.

I combined two recipes to make it. Started a "biga" the night before so it could ferment. Added it to the dough Saturday morning and added sundried tomatoes and some sundried tomato paste to the dough. Let it rise for three hours, shaped it and let it rise more than another hour. Baked in a very hot oven on a pizza stone, with steam.

Here is the table set with Primi: prosciutto and melon with the bread cut up for passing and dipping in olive oil and balsamic.

Wendy making egg noodles. This is so much easier since I bought the pasta attachment for the Kitchen Aid and no longer crank by hand.

Noodles cooking. Then they are shocked in ice water, patted dry, and put into the lasagne.

Here you can see some of the heavenly sauce. Wendy is right; we could have made a meal of the sauce and bread.

The hazelnut-chocolate cake. It had a little flour in it but mostly hazelnuts toasted and ground with bittersweet chocolate, sugar, and eggs. We did double desserts because it was a birthday dinner for their daughter.

And here is a served dessert: hazelnut-chocolate cake, dark chocolate gelato, whipped cream.

We worked our tails off but it was fun cooking together. Wendy got to check out making polenta and frying it, making noodles, a rich meat and tomato sauce, an Italian cake, and gelato. And I did some serious sleeping in today.

Next Saturday: another adventure with an Italian pot roast. Stay tuned.

--the BB