Monday, July 23, 2007

7/22/07 Roman Dinner

And yet another post from my dinner parties. This was my second dinner featuring Rome, and was held in honor of the departure of my friends Brian and Judy for the Big Apple. We also had gone to see the movie Ratatouille the week before, so I prepared the zucchini in the style of the featured dish from that movie.

1. Insalata Verde e Pomodorini Canditi

2. Primi Piatti: Tonnarelli al Tè Verde con Gamberi e Pomodorini Canditi

(Based on a recipe from the Roman cook Paolo Londero at the Hotel Hassler)

3. Contorni: Zucchine in Padella con Aceto e Peperoncino

(Traditional Roman dish, served in the style of Rat-atouille)

4. Secondi Piatti: Agnello alla Cacciatora

(Based on a traditional recipe from the Roman restaurant Checchino dal 1887)

4. Dolci: Crema di Tè a Gelsomino

(OK, this is a simple French recipe from Alain Ducasse, but I think it will be a nice variation on the Tonnarelli dish)

The highlight of the meal was the pasta made with green tea, which made a sensational combination with the roasted tomatoes and shrimp. The zucchini dish was very similar to the Roman Zucchini dish I served a few weeks before, but I added more vinegar, stacked the zucchini like the ratatouille dish from the movie, and baked the columns in the oven. I also thought the Jasmine custards came out well: the tea added just enough flavor to liven up the desert.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

7/7/2007 Roman Dinner

And another menu from my series of dinners. This one was in honor of my friend Fanny being in town. She has gone to Rome more than once, and said that this was the best Italian meal she had outside of Italy (Thanks Fanny). You'll probably also notice that by this point I do have a fondness for green salads.

1. Insalata Verde

2. Primi Piatti: Bruschetta con Pomodorini Canditi

(Using a combination of roasted tomatoes with sugar and regular cold tomatoes really makes Bruschetta shine)

3. Secondi Piatti: Fettuccine con Ragù alla Romana

(Recipe from Roman restaurant Fortunato al Pantheon)

4. Contorni: Zucchine in Padella con Aceto e Peperoncino

5. Dolci: I actually ran out of time so I just went to the local Bakery and Fox & Obel and bought us all chocolate tarts. In retrospect that is very Italian I suppose.

The hit of the event was the zucchini dish. The zucchini was just pan-fried in garlic-infused olive oil, then tossed with red peperoncino peppers, and then doused with balsamic vinegar. But the dish was definitely the highlight of the meal, and our plates were quickly cleared.