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Anyone else cooking from "Marcella's Italian Kitchen"?


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Home Cooking Italian Cookbooks

Anyone else cooking from "Marcella's Italian Kitchen"?

buttertart | | Mar 25, 2011 09:53 AM

I know I've gone on and on about this book. It's in my top 10 favorites, even above the Classic books - it is apparently her favorite as well. Everything I've ever made from it has been wonderful.

Favorites include: the baked eggplant risotto (adapted recipe follows); the scallops with mushrooms - I would never think of pairing them but the dish is terrific; the scallops with lemon and rosemary (and I'm not all that keen on rosemary); the ground veal with cream and saffron sauce for pasta, the easiest most elegant pasta dish ever; the pork scallopine with onions, raisins, and vinegar, perfect for fall; the Savoy cabbage rolls stuffed with beef and prosciutto, so savory...there are more but I've made each of these many times.

Aspiration: the pasta rosettes with cream and ham - the most beautiful pasta dish I've ever seen, a friend made it for a buffet entirely by hand and it was glorious.

There are other gems I haven't yet broached but intend to. Anyone with me on this? Would love to be pointed to other recipes.

Here's a taste - very useful dish for buffets and potlucks, can be made lacto-veg with vegetable broth...I like the one in the Greens cookbook if doing that.

Baked Eggplant Risotto

2 to 2 1/2 lb eggplant (pref the skinny ones)
Cut into 1/4 in slices (she says to peel them but I don't). Brush with veg oil and bake in hot oven on baking sheets until browned on both sides, salt lightly. (She has you salt them, dry them, and fry them in abundant oil, this way madness lies.) Set aside.

2 tb butter, 2 tb veg oil, 3-4 tb onion finely chopped, medium high heat, let onion color gold, add
1 1/2 c canned Italian plum tomatoes with their juice, turn heat low, cook 10 mins stirring from time to time.
Add 2 tb each chopped basil and parsley. Put 3/4 (or "just over 2/3" per the recipe) of this in a bowl.

Bring 1 1/2 c meat broth to simmer. (I think it needs more like 2 1/2 c.)
Put 1 1/3 c Arborio rice (I've used Kokuho Rose sushi rice when I didn't have/coudn't get arborio) in pan with the rest of the tomato mixture, stir about, add 2/3 c white wine.
Let simmer over medium-low heat until absorbed.
Add the broth gradually, stirring constantly, until risotto is done to al dente stage. You may need some water as well. This should take about 25 mins or so.
Add pepper and some salt (the cheeses added later are salty so don't go crazy here).
Spread on a platter to cool.

Oven at 400 deg F.

Butter deep oven to table baking dish (oval le Creuset gratin pan type of thing or my super-nice Royal Worcester Evesham deep rectangular dish that I got with wedding money if you're me).
Spread 1 in layer of risotto on the bottom.
Cover with a layer of eggplant slices.
Pour some of the sauce over the eggplant, then some grated Pecorino Romano (of 1/3 cup total) and Parmesan (of 2/3 cup total), then cubed mozzarella (1/4 in cubes, of 1/2 lb total - fresh or regular old, I've used both).
Make another layer of risotto and proceed as above until used up. Top layer can be either rice or eggplant but should be sprinkled with grated Parmesan and dotted with 2 tb butter.
Bake 10-12 minutes in the uppermost part of the oven, until cheese melts and forms a light crust (it may need a bit more time if ingredients cool off while you're assembling the dish).
Serve from dish after letting settle for 5 mins.

"It is exceptionally suited to a hot buffet" - per the book, and it is.
I want some right now!