Posts Tagged 'Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking'

Fettucine con Salsa di Gorgonzola (Fettucini with Gorgonzola Sauce)

Fettucine with Gorgonzola Sauce

Angela left me to my own devices this past week as she was out of town attending a wedding.  Some may look at this as a tragedy; I merely look at it as an opportunity to eat things she doesn’t like.

In college, I independently developed something similar to this recipe.  It developed as an elaboration of a fettucine alfredo recipe I found in a Betty Crocker cookbook that was owned by my roommate.  I no longer make that recipe as I’ve moved on to better and (to my thinking at least) more authentic recipes.

However, there’s a bit of a story to that fettucine alfredo recipe.  It was one of the first things I ever cooked from a published recipe.  But, more importantly to me at least, was that it was the first thing I ever cooked for Angela.

As documented in the about page, this was an effort to impress here. And apparently it worked.

But that has very little to do with this recipe as Angela doesn’t like Gorgonzola cheese (or really any blue cheese) which is why I made this recipe when she was gone. It’s a rather simple recipe. The most time was taken up in making the pasta.

My pasta making technique has been modified a bit now.  I tend to add a little bit of olive oil and salt to the dough.  I’m not sure if I can taste a difference or not but it’s been working for me.  I also use large eggs now as I’ve started buying the dark yolk eggs from Trader Joe’s.  If anything, the dough has been easier to work with with large eggs as opposed to extra large eggs.

The Gorgonzola sauce is quite good if fattening.  The flavor of the Gorgonzola definitely ripens as it is allowed to sit at room temperature but the sauce itself is very well balanced.  It went well, for me, with a 2005 Palmina Dolcetto.

Homemade Pasta

Fettucine con Salsa di Gorgonzola (Fettucini with Gorgonzola Sauce)
Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1/4 lbs. Gorgonzola, left at room temperature for at least 6 hours
1/3 cup whole milk
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 lbs. fresh fettuccine (preferably homemade)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. In a large saucepan, place the gorgonzola, milk, and butter over low heat.  Stir with a wood spoon, breaking up the gorgonzola.  Cook for a minute or two or until the butter melts.
  2. Add the heavy cream and increase the heat to medium-low.  Cook until the heavy cream has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until slightly undercooked.  Add the pasta to the sauce.
  4. Cook the sauce for 1 minute more, stirring in the pasta.
  5. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve immediately with extra grated parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 4.


Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

I have a confession. I had never had eggplant parmesan (does parmesan need to be capitalized? my spell checker wants it to be; it’s the anglization of parmigiano meaning something from Parma, Italy) before. I love Italian food (I believe it’s authentically Italian as I’ve seen it in Italy and Wikipedia backs me up) as well as the Italian-American versions with chicken or better yet veal so you’d think that I’d have tried it before now.

However, until very recently I was of the opinion that eggplant was ‘icky.’ A certain movie with an animated rat (which, by the way, I haven’t gotten around to seeing yet) made me decide that I needed to at least reevaluate my opinions of eggplant. At the time, I made a simple version of ratatouille and actually liked it (I spared Angela from even trying it as I was almost positive she’d give it a thumbs down).

Risen Bread Dough

When it comes to Italian food, I’m much more in my comfort zone and am much more likely to modify a recipe to suit my tastes (or what I think my tastes will be). I used Marcella Hazan’s recipe as a basis and it turned out to be different than I was expecting. For some reason, I expected there to be bread crumbs on the eggplant but this recipe did not call for them (although that would be an interesting variation to try in the future). It was also layered and I was expecting a single layer of eggplant. I suppose I was expecting chicken parmesan where eggplant has replaced chicken.

As to the recipe, it was pretty good. I don’t think I soaked the eggplant in salt long enough as it was still quite bitter (unlike the afore mentioned ratatouille) and didn’t seem to have exuded a significant amount of liquid. I only had dry basil (the original recipe called for fresh but the basil plant I bought a few months ago is pretty much dead; I have a brown thumb) but it would probably be better replaced with fresh basil added as part of the layering stage. Because I used less eggplant, I ended up with fewer layers. Also, as you can tell in the picture above, the dish did not retain its structural integrity (wow, that brought out my inner engineer) when it was removed from the serving dish.

And Angela hated it (but what do you expect, she hates vegetables).

Eggplant Parmesan
Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1 medium Italian eggplant (the type that vaguely resembles a purple banana)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tbsp olive oil
3 roma tomatoes
1 tsp dry basil
2 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 3/8″ thick slices (for my eggplant, it resulted in about 4 different slices). Place in a collander over the sink and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Allow to sit for at least half an hour (if my experience is any guide, probably closer to an hour to remove more of the bitterness).
  3. Run the tomatoes through a food mill (if you don’t have one, buy one; or skin, seed, and dice the tomatoes). Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, the tomatoes, 1 tsp salt, and the basil to a sauce pan. Simmer until reduced to a thicker consistency.
  4. Dry the eggplant slices in paper towels. Dredge the eggplant in the flour.
  5. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until just before smoking. Add the eggplant, cooking in batches if needed, until browned on both sides. About 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  6. Grease a heat proof baking dish. Add a layer of eggplant, add a layer of mozzarella cheese, layer with tomato sauce, and sprinkle generously with parmesan cheese. Add another layer of eggplant, top with tomato sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F.

Serves 2.