Sunday, October 09, 2005

Big "Big Night" night

Decided to use every square inch of granite counter in the big Santa Cruz kitchen and dirty every dish, utensil, pot and pan this weekend, in honor of Suzie and Todd coming down. The theme was the movie "The Big Night" (see it if you haven't) and the star is the Timpano (Timballo) de Maccheroni, baked pasta and other goodies inside a large "drum" of a pastry shell. Bonnie and David came, and (rather terrifyingly, but what the heck) born and made (respectively) Italians Eleonora and Roger.


Figs wrapped with a very lean domestic prosciutto, and dusted with pepper (I figured out afterwards that the reason my tongue/brain absolutely required the pepper was that my Jewish heart wanted the ham to be pastrami).

Roasted red peppers with anchovies, garlic, oil and vinegar. Roast them yourself and leave the skin on, it's probably good for you.

"Deconstructed bruschetta" -- I ran out of time to make toast and rub garlic on it, and all that, so plain slices of bread were served with a mixture of diced tomatoes, fresh oregano, chopped reconstituted porcini mushrooms, and salt.

Il Timballo:

Had rigatoni, tomato sauce, meatballs (with currants), mozzarella & fontina, "mild chicken Italian sausage" from Shopper's Corner (a big hit), hardboiled eggs, and the crust from this recipe, which was pretty hard and austere (and hard to roll thinly). Grated pecorino romano cheese sprinkled liberally in the meatballs and the sauce.

Il Disastro:

The timballo fell apart when I was trying to invert it out onto the big ceramic serving dish, and worse, I managed to break the dish in the latter stages of the process. The pot should have been lubricated more with olive oil and the cook should have been lubricated less with red wine. But it tasted pretty good.

Sicilian-style cookies:

From my memories of what we had in Taormina. I made a filling of marzipan and diced orange peel (dried and reconstituted but not sweetened). Then I made another half-recipe of the timballo dough, adding a bit of sugar. I made this into thin 3-inch disks and wrapped them around a pinch of the filling and a pistachio, then baked at 400 degrees until they started to brown. Then tossed them into the freezer so they'd be cool before the movie was over.

Eleonora and Roger brought a lovely wine from the South of Italy.

Suzie and Todd left the next morning and I saw Bonnie around lunchtime, but no one wanted me to make them a morning-after-plain-omelet.

Cleanup is still in progress.


At 9:10 AM, Anonymous father said...

Sounds delicious despite the absence of enough oil, a tendency you learned from your mother.
Your energy amazes me. Stay young!

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Mams said...

Discretion is the better part of valor. Now you know, next time make a deep dish pie with crust just on top. Enough carbos in that dish anyway.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Mimi said...

Cooking without risk is drudgy! Life without risk is ...
There is no life without risk. Don't listen to Mams. Try again with more oil or another crust. Or for even more risk, try something completely different. ;-)

Is that "word verification" a test of sobriety?

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Mams said...

I went back and read the recipe. That is not a meal; that is a 40-hour work week!

How deep was your pan? Not clear from recipe how deep was intended and I can't remember the movie. Was it really "Towering?" Maybe a lasagne-type pan would work better.

I once made an Italian "Easter PIe" for a party (not Eater) that was more dairy-oriented. As I remember it had ham and sausage and mozzarella and ricotto. (May my ancestors forgive me!) It was cut in squares like a pizza and the only risk was to the arteries.


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