To all our Readers, Friends and Followers. For a limited time, you can order anything on our website... www.MontesHam.com and receive a 10 percent discount on your entire order. Simply enter the promotional code FNF10 and we'll do the rest. We've got great gifts for $28.00 and up. But hurry, we sold out at Thanksgiving and our supplies are going fast.
Last weekend we had a post Thanksgiving dinner party. Since everyone was pretty well stuffed with Turkey, we wanted something completely different -- a crowd-pleaser on a cold night. So we went for a dinner that's 'tutto italiano' from main course to desert. Now baked pasta dishes are a risky business. Those giant pans of baked ziti come to mind. I remember going to a long ago dinner party when one wag, seeing that very dish on the sideboard, described it as being “like having dinner at Riker’s” (New York City’s jail). But the recipe for Baked Rigatoni was intriguing because its author, Tyler Florence, not only has a last name in common with Italy but a very deft hand at making wonderful Italian Food. What’s nice about this dish, from Tyler’s Ultimate series, is the way the top gets completely crusty while what lies beneath is layers of pure flavor—of mozzarella, sausage and eggplant and the pasta itself moist and delicious. Served with a really beautiful green salad, this dish was a big hit.
|Keith's Green Salad was a big hit|
Finally, Andrew topped off the meal with a truly wonderful and very Italian dessert. It’s a “Crostata di Miele e Pignoli”, a honey and pignoli nut tart that combines a sweet and slightly salty filling with honey and pine nuts. Now this recipe has a great pedigree. It is from Gina di Palma, whose “Dolce Italiano” is a treasure trove. Ms. di Palma is the pastry chef at “Babbo”, Chef Mario Batali’s first big hit restaurant in New York. Her cookbook is described as being ‘for those home cooks who, like Gina, lie awake at night in bed dreaming of the perfect dessert’. I haven’t noticed Andrew losing sleep over his desserts and this one is so good, you wouldn’t. Andrew described it as a kind Italian pecan pie. I adore pecan pie but I’d have to say, I actually liked this better. And we got to use our fabulous “Bee’s Needs” honey that’s made in the Hamptons by my friend, Mary Woltz. This pie, topped with a tiny scoop of Vanilla Gelato, was completely devoured by our guests. Not one slice was left.