Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bella Notte

Robert likes projects.  He built a bed.  Mastered several video games.  And, fixed up his vintage car.  

Now, he is baking bread.  And each loaf gets more and more delicious. 

When he was in town for July Fourth weekend, we celebrated Oma's birthday with German cuisine one night and turned Robert's bread and Sicilian recipes into a bella notte on another.  America's melting pot in action.

Our meal was super delicious with rosemary bread, vegetarian ravioli and a choice of red sauce and pesto. All from scratch. 

Photos by Robert Giglio

Rosemary Bread 

Robert uses this recipe, but with the following variations.  He added a dash of basil and melted freshly grated parmesan atop the bread during the last few minutes of baking. 

Pesto Sauce 

Blend the following: 
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (2-3 bunches)
¼ cup pine-nuts toasted
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 large clove garlic, quartered
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons lemon

Tomato Sauce  

1 can tomato paste
1.5 cans of water
Leftover eggplant and bell pepper filling (or half the filling recipe below)
Italian seasoning, dry basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic

Simmer for 30 minutes to let flavors blend, stirring.

Vegetarian Ravioli 

Ingredients: (for pasta)
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil (If you do not have enough basil, substitute with spinach, or just use spinach)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  1. Using a food processor, process basil leaves until chopped very fine. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and pulse two or three times, or until combined. Add egg, 1 teaspoon oil, and the water until dough forms a ball shape. If dough seems dry, add a bit more water. Wrap dough in a piece of plastic wrap which has been coated in a few drops of olive oil. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours. (Or freeze for 45 min. or so)
  2. Remove dough from refrigerator, and roll into sheets.  Use ravioli press to layout pasta and add filling.  Lay out another sheet over the filling, secure edges and cut out squares.  If you don't have a press, cut pasta into squares, place a dollop of filling and place another square atop, seeming the edges.  (Feel free to try using animal shapes instead of squares.)    
  3. Cook in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. This should take only a 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pasta.

Ingredients: (for the filling)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • half eggplant
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Tony's (red pepper)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  1. Saute garlic, cubed eggplant and diced bell pepper. 
  2. Combine in food processor with cheese and extra garlic and seasonings to taste.

A little lesson in Italian 

Robert's last name is very Italian.  It's Giglio.  And though he knows it is supposed to be pronounce like the movie Gigli (Jee-Le-O), he rarely corrects people.  But, at the root of it, he is proud of his Sicilian heritage and what the name Giglio means.  Giglio is Italian for lily. I have to say as a New Orleanian, I am a big fan of his family and Giglio Island's (off the coast of Italy) symbol, the fleur-de-lis.

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