Monday, March 28, 2016

Saturday Night Italian

Saturday Matt and I were pretty lazy but it was a snow day here in Colorado so that makes perfect sense doesn't it? The past week I haven't been in the mood to cook or do anything really since Oscar passed. But this weekend we tried to relax, have some fun and I cooked..... AND enjoyed it. I felt guilty to be honest, guilty to be doing normal stuff when my boy Oscar is no longer here but I guess I have to get over that. 
Saturday night I made a really delish meal and I wanted to share it with you all.... it was easy, homemade and really something special! Here is what was on the menu:
Italian Pie
Anchovy Ceasar Salad
Caramel Affagato

I adapted this recipe from Rachael Ray's Italian Slab Pie which you can see HERE. Below is the recipe I made and do not shy away from the Fennel, it makes the whole meal..... and if you are not a fan of fennel.... you are missing out, I LOVE it!

3 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 pound spicy Italian pork sausage, casings removed
1/2 large bulb fennel, finely chopped
1 carrot diced
1 celery diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
Flour, for dusting
2 sheets (one 17.3-oz. package) frozen puff pastry, thawed
2/3 cup ricotta
1/3 cup jarred marinara sauce
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, sliced

How To:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil over medium-high. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes; transfer to a plate.

2. Reduce the heat to low. Add the fennel, carrot, celery and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften. For the last 2 minutes add garlic so it will not burn

3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tsp. water. Use a 10 x 10 casserole pan and make sure you grease it really good! Transfer 1 sheet of puff pastry to dish and form along bottom pushing sides up to cover dish.  Top with an even layer of the sausage, then the vegetable mixture. Using a tablespoon, dot with the ricotta, then drizzle with the marinara and sprinkle with half the basil. Top with second sheet of pastry and use a fork to seal the edges. Brush the top with egg. Cut 4 slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining basil.

 Nicole's Anchovy Caesar Salad (for 2)
1/2 teaspoon of Anchovy Paste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Splash or two of Worcester Sauce
1 garlic clove minced
Salt and Pepper
* Mix those ingredients together*
Add 1/4 cup EVOO
* Mix all together*

Chop up about 1 1/2 heads of Romaine, throw in about 1/4 cup Parmesan and then add your dressing right before serving and mix well! Delish!

The whole meal was so good and don't be alarmed..... when I cut my pie the marinara looked like it was "juicy" and made the pie soggy but it wasn't..... the bottom of mine was still crisp! Matt loved this too!
 Now onto dessert..... Affagato is super easy and it is basically just espresso poured over ice cream! But you know me I jazzed it up a bit!

Caramel Affagato
1. Make small cup of Espresso or if you don't have an espresso machine coffee will work just fine (black)
2. Early that day I made a small batch of homemade vanilla whip cream and you could use store bought but I would advise you to not skip this step the homemade version makes this richer!
3. Using store bought salted caramel line the bottom of dessert cups with caramel
4. Add in 1 heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream and pour about 1/4-1/3 cup espresso on top
5. Top with whip cream and eat right away!!!
You are welcome!!!
I hope you all liked this meal, let me know if you try it!!! YUMM!


Kathryn said...

That looks so yummy!! Definitely going to try!

Anonymous said...

Looks very yummy. Glad you are getting back into a routine, it is okay, and Oscar would be fine with it. As he looks down seeing with both eyes and that smile, remember! :)


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