A Ligurian Dinner for Four
ROASTED RED-PEPPER MOUSSE 4 large sweet red peppers (about 2 lbs.) 1 small onion 1 small shallot 1 small tomato 3 cloves of garlic Olive oil 1/2 cup light broth (or water) 1 envelope unflavored gelatin 1/4 cup heavy cream Salt and pepper Savory toast points (see below) Basil leaves or edible flowers, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat all vegetables generously with olive oil, place in large, shallow oven-proof pan and bake, turning every 15 minutes until pepper skins are darkened and vegetables are tender. (Tomato may be finished first, and skin may split.) Place peppers in brown paper bag, top closed, to cool. Remove skins, cores, and seeds from peppers and place in food processor. Remove root end and skins from onion, garlic, and shallot, and add to peppers. Seed and skin tomato and add. Puree all
until very smooth. Put gelatin in broth or water, heat gently until dissolved, and process into pepper puree. Pour in cream through feed tube and blend well. Season with salt and pepper. Yield: approximately four cups.
Line eight, 4-oz. molds with plastic wrap, pour pepper puree to fill, fold wrap over to cover, chill to set (3 or 4 hours). To serve, unmold onto serving plates, garnish with basil leaves or edible flowers if available, and savory toast points. For toast points: Take eight slices of thin white firm bread, crusts trimmed, cut in half. Brush with olive oil, rub with sliced garlic clove, place on cookie sheet in 350 degree F. oven. Turn once. ROASTED EGGPLANT RAVIOLI WITH FRESH TOMATO SAUCE FILLING: 2 medium eggplants 1 head garlic 1 medium onion 2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram (1 tablespoon dried) 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon rind 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese Salt and pepper 4 sheets of fresh egg pasta (or substitute wonton wrappers)
For the filling: Place eggplant, garlic, and onion in an ovenproof baking pan, bake at 375 degrees F. until vegetables are very tender. Let cool completely. Cut eggplant in half, scrape pulp from skin and place in a mixing bowl. Remove skin and root end from onion, chop finely, and add to eggplant. Squeeze roasted garlic from papery skin and add. Add remaining ingredients - fresh minced garlic, marjoram, lemon rind, cheese, salt and pepper - and blend well.
For the ravioli: Place one sheet of pasta (available at specialty stores) on work surface. Add ravioli filling in generous teaspoons in rows. Cover with another sheet and press between filling mounds to seal sheets together. Separate ravioli with knife or ravioli-wheel cutter. Place on trays sprinkled with cornmeal. Repeat with remaining sheets and filling. FOR THE SAUCE: 1 lb. tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, mashed 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves Salt and pepper 4 tablespoons butter Parmesan cheese, grated
Saute tomatoes, onion, and garlic in olive oil about five minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in two tablespoons of the butter and the thyme leaves.
To serve: Cook ravioli in large quantity of boiling, salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, drain well, toss with remaining butter. Place some of the tomato sauce on each plate, arrange cooked ravioli on top, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. FRICASSEE OF LAMB AND ARTICHOKES WITH LEMON-PARSLEY SAUCE 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 lbs. lamb, cut into one-inch pieces Salt and pepper 1/4 cup flat parsley, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 9-oz. package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or 4 medium-size fresh, trimmed and quartered) 3/4 cup meat broth Juice of one lemon 2 egg yolks Parsley sprigs (for garnish) Thinly cut lemon slices (for garnish)
Brown garlic cloves in olive oil until very golden but not burned; discard garlic. Saute lamb in the garlic-flavored oil, in batches, until well browned. (Do not crowd the meat or it will not brown.) Season with salt and pepper. Remove lamb as cooked and reserve, warm, on a separate platter. When all the lamb is browned, add the chopped parsley and minced garlic to the pan, stirring continuously for two minutes.
Remove the garlic-parsley mixture to the platter with the lamb. Add meat broth to the pan and scrape up the browned particles. Add the artichoke hearts. Cover, and simmer for five minutes. Add the reserved lamb-parsley mixture and stir gently. Simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove meat and artichokes, leaving juices in pan. Combine lemon juice and egg yolks in a small bowl. Stir some of the cooking liquid into the egg-yolk mixture (to warm the yolks and prevent scrambling); add the egg mixture to the pan juices, stirring continuously until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Turn off heat and stir the lamb mixture into the sauce to combine. Serve with fresh parsley sprigs and lemon slices. CARAMELIZED APPLES WITH PINE NUTS AND GOLDEN RAISINS IN CINNAMON SAUCE 3 Golden Delicious apples 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup pine nuts 1/2 cup golden raisins 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 3 cups apple cider, or apple juice
Peel apples and cut into sticks about 1/2-inch long by 1/4-inch thick. Saute apple sticks in butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle 1/4 cup of that mixture over apples, maintaining heat. When apples begin to take on color and the sugar begins to melt, add the raisins and pine nuts.
Continue cooking until all the sugar is melted and everything is well coated with the resulting syrup. Set aside.
Put apple cider in a small saute pan with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Over high heat, reduce to about 1 1/2 cups. Gently stir the reduction into the apple-raisin-pine-nut mixture. Serve warm over ice cream.