Italian Memories Dinner Party

February15

There were three couples assembled to relive the details of our separate trips to Italy.  One couple had kept a similar itinerary to ours and the other had spent extensive time in Tuscany.  The host served Mario Bateli’s Osco Bucco (recipes in link)–a regional Italian dish that I have never attempted.  She made her decision from five different recipes-an indication of the care that she puts into her cooking.  It was perfection-“fall off the bone” and yet did not tasted “stewed”.  She also prepared his Risotto Milanese (with Saffron)  but admitted that it tuckered her out and decided to forgo her dessert course of poached pears and Carmel sauce.  We had a delicious tiramisu instead.

The wines were beautifully paired and we took over limoncello for after dinner sipping.

Our hosts in Amalfi-who served their own Limencello in their cozy bar

Our hosts in Amalfi-who served their own Limencello in their cozy bar

Limoncello

  • 750 ml bottle of grain alcohol
  • 7 or 8 large lemons (make sure they’re organic and not sprayed, you’re using the peel!)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar

Directions:

  • Wash the lemons thoroughly – scrub them clean of all residue.
  • Using a peeler, take off the skins being careful not to get any of the white lemon “pith” onto your peelings or it will add bitterness to your limoncello.
  • Put the peels into a large, open-mouth jar with the alcohol and seal the lid tightly. Put the date on the bottle.
  • Put the jar in a cool, dry place for one week – once a day, shake the contents well to remix everything. You’ll notice the color of the liquid changing to yellow and the color of the lemon peels fading.
  • One week later, dissolve the sugar completely in water by heating it on the stove. Then cool the sugar-water mixture to room temperature.
  • Strain the lemon peels out of the alcohol and then mix the alcohol with the sugar-water. Usually the color of the alcohol changes from clear yellow to cloudy yellow when it’s combined with the sugar-water.
  • Pour the mixture into bottles which can be sealed tightly and store them in the freezer. If the limoncello is kept “frozen” until serving it becomes thick and syrupy.

These make great gifts; just get some small, pretty bottles and label them yourself and you’ve got a great taste of Italy to hand out to friends and family.  I’ve not tried this yet, but this same recipe can be used with any citrus fruit – orange, lime, grapefruit, etc.

DSCF1036We also took over the antipasto.  It was a recreation of our favourite one while travelling.  Antipasti are very regional depending upon the local ingredients available.  Our favourite was in Ravello and it was primarily a selection of vegetables that had been cooked, marinated and served cold.

The restaurant was called Cumpa Cossismo and it has been run by the same family for decades.  All the dishes served were Netta’s recipes and she still supervises the cooking, greets all the guests and then it appeared that her most important role is collecting everybody’s euros before departing.

DSCF1037_edited

Netta has hosted the likes of Jacqueline Onassis and Mariah Carey.  Having been caught in the rain on this morning-I don’t feel much like a diva in this pic.


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