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Tres Italian

This second to last cooking class was once again Italian, but this time Northern Italian (apparently less tomato sauce, more butter and more cheese), and I liked it, maybe even more so than the Italian classics class.  I again biked to class in the beautiful weather that we are still having and then awaited this great menu:

Scampi alla Veneziana
Gnocchi di Patate al Burro e Formaggio
Veal Scallopine al Limone
Peperonata
Creme al Limone con le Fragole

So for the class we had the scampi with the gnocchi and the veal paired with the peperonata before then finishing off the night with the dessert.  We set on making the homemade gnocchi first.  I love gnocchi and ours came out pillowy soft as they should!  And we also cut them larger than I have in the past so they actually took a little less time to make them all.  Just like her pasta she puts very few things in her traditional gnocchi.  We steamed two large russet potatoes (1 lb worth) until cooked through.  After draining them we put them back in the pot to cook out more of their water until fluffy and dry.  We then put the potatoes through a ricer to get them soft and then gradually added 1 cup of flour.  After adding about 3/4 cup of the flour in the pan we turned the dough out on to the counter to knead the dough and incorporate the rest of the flour.  After less than 10 minutes we had a good dough ball.  We rolled out portions of the dough on the counter, then cut them in about 1″ large sections with a pastry cutter and then rolled them over the tines of a fork.  Done.  We then cooked them in boiling water until they rose to the top, strained them out, patted dry and then layered them with butter and parmesan in an oval baking dish.  Once they were all boiled and in the dish we baked that just until the cheese melted (<10 minutes).  The scampi was simple and the sauce delicious.  The sauce was heavy on the butter and olive oil, pressed garlic, white wine, and parsley.  These two dishes were so delicious and paired so well together.  Oh those gnocchi!

Scampi and first serving of pillows from heaven.
Scampi and first serving of pillows from heaven.
Cooking the scampi.
Cooking the scampi.

For the veal we learned a lot about shopping for veal.  Veal is often hard to find in the stores because of political issues.  We learned that true veal is light pink in color and many packages are labeled veal but if they are darker red then that is really calf meat.  The veal went through your typical breading process with flour, then egg, then homemade bread crumbs with parmesan.  We cooked the veal in a hot pan with butter and olive oil and when finished and plated we squeezed fresh lemon on the veal.  The peperonata was delicious.  It was just red peppers, onion and roma tomatoes that were cooked down with olive oil but a dose of white wine gave them a little zip to them.  She also talked about their versatility (you could serve them hot or cold, as a side dish or antipasti, add balsamic or white wine vinegar to make more like a salad.  Fresh and flavorful!

First slice of veal and peperonata
First slice of veal and peperonata

Dessert was simple but delicious.  We soaked a good amount of the summer’s first farmers market bought strawberries in an entire bottle of white wine instead of running them under water.  After they soaked for 30 minutes we took of the tops and sliced them in half.  We had these with a dollop of fresh beaten cream at room temperature with a dose of lemon juice and brandy.  The whipped cream was just about the best whipped cream I’ve had in my life and those strawberries were definitely the best of the season I have had so far.

Fresh sweet strawberries with a lemon brandy cream.
Fresh sweet strawberries with a lemon brandy cream.

Quite delicious and only one more class to go!  😦

Chelsea

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