Monday, April 19, 2010

Roman Style Dinner for friends

You know I love a theme! For Saturday night our dear friend Rey's mother was in town from El Salvador and they came over for a Roman Style meal. I was inspired by the April issue of Saveur and decided to make this for them. This was my first venture into making focaccia - it was really very easy. Recipe adapted from Canal House.


1 package active dry yeast
6 tablespoons olive oil (Bariani is my favorite)
4 cups bread flour plus more...
2 teaspoons salt

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in your mixer that has a bread hook. Stir in another 1 & 1/4 cups water and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the flour and start the mixer. You should blend until it comes together in a ball - I needed to add about another 1/2 cup so that it wasn't too sticky. Then put a couple more tablespoons of oil in a large bowl and put the dough in the bowl, forming a l
arge ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot for about 2 hours or until doubled in size. To bake oil a couple small rectangular baking pans. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and using your fingers push and spread the dough into the pan. Let it rest a couple min. then continue spreading until it is in all corners. Let rest another 30 min. then poke your fingers to make indents and pour over a few more tablespoons of olive oil. I did 3 versions: one with a thinly sliced meyer lemon and chopped rosemary, one with some marinated artichoke hearts and the last plain. All of them were doused with olive oil and sprinkled with maldon sea salt. I baked at 450 degrees for about 15 to 20

min until browned and then poured on a little more oil when out of the oven.

Our next course was pasta Bucatini All'Amatriciana a spicy flavorful dish. I used pancetta and my tomato crush from last year.
Our main course was Maiale in Agrodolce or Pork chops with a balsamic glaze. I only used 1 tablespoon of honey. For the side dishes I tried the Finocchio con Latte al Forno which was creamy and cheesy deliciousness. Our second vegetable was Piselli al Proscuiutto - this was amazingly easy; I just love how they are barely cooked. Fresh peas just came out at the market and Rich and I spent awhile on the deck shucking them. I'm trying to decide on a way to serve these leftover, maybe pasta, maybe with rice... will let you know how that works out.

I'll save dessert for tomorrow's post!

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