Sometimes it’s just fun to post a great eating experience here at OTK, and Sunday was a real festa for the foodie meet up group I recently joined. (Upper Valley Adventures in Food and Wine: (organizer Cindy Blakeslee) )
My husband and I hosted the dinner and welcomed 14 excellent home cooks with their amazing Italian dishes. The menu was as follows:
Antipasto: Tomato Bruschetta, Cold Platter (artichoke hearts, various salamis, olives, roasted red peppers, lupini, mushrooms ), Artisan Bread with Seasoned Olive Oil
Primo: Pasta al Forno: Lasagna of Roasted Vegetables, Ravioli: Made-from-scratch Mushroom Ravioli
Secondo: Roman Style Braised Oxtail Stew with Polenta, Braised Chicken with Lemons and Olives
Contorno: Zucchini Layered with Smoked Provalone and Prosciutto, Carote di Stufato
Insalata: Sicilian Blood Orange Arugula Salad with Red Onion, Olives, and Pine Nuts (dressed with white balsamic, olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest vinaigrette)
Dolce: Fruit and Cheese Plate, Handmade Pizzelle and Cannoli
The tangy antipasto dishes were a nice, salty start to our dinner party, and the wine started flowing.
The oxtail ragu was outstanding, and its aroma reminded me of walking through Trastevere in Rome on Sunday mornings. Its perfume filled the streets as it simmered in neighborhood family kitchens.
The chicken dish was a family recipe passed down from the Italian aunties of one of the members, and was drenched in a garlicky, lemony marinade accented with olives and herbs.
Porcini mushrooms created a rich, sweet, and earthy flavor in the fresh ravioli, which was dressed simply in olive oil, fresh thyme, and pepper.
The roasted vegetable lasagna was made with layers of home made pasta, caramelized squash, and other earthy vegetables surrounded in a velvety bechamel sauce.
Blood oranges appeared in both the salad and later on the dessert fruit platter. A real hit was a sweet and smooth lemon ricotta, which can be described as tasting somewhere between cheesecake and fresh milk heaven. (I ran out and picked up a wedge today. Fabulous stuff.)
If you want any of the recipes for these dishes, please contact OTK for copies of them from the meet up members.
Buon appetito a tutti!
Photos by MELorden