Kristina's pick for April: "Big Night." Click here for her invitation to participate. Pronto al tavolo!
Truth be told, I never need an excuse to "cook Italian." Since that's where I learned to cook - Rome, that is - Italian is our usual fare when we aren't traipsing around the globe through tabletop travel; this year I'm teaching my boys to cook, and appreciate, all kinds of cuisine through a Cooking Around the World project. Whenever we aren't cooking a specific country, Dylan says, with just a little bit of sass, "Of course, we're having Italian food!" Of course.
While we were watching the movie again, passing a bottle of Chianti between us, Jake and I jotted down the dishes we saw or that were mentioned: goat cheese crostini, risotto alla bandiera (flag risotto or red-white-green risotto), seafood risotto, spaghetti without meatballs - "because sometimes spaghetti wants to be alone", timpano, artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, and a whole pig! Oddly, even after the words I Dolci (sweets) crossed the screen, there were no shots of dessert. No sweet treats of any kind. Not even the typical caffè, strong espresso with a hefty amount of sugar.
After the viewing, I decided I would tackle a timpano, a Italian dish that - as its name indicates - is shaped like a drum. I started with a fennel pollen mostly whole-wheat dough.
2 C whole wheat flour
1 C white flour
1/2 t active dry yeast
1 t fennel pollen
1 t pink Himalaya salt
freshly ground flower pepper
2 T olive oil
1-1/2 C warm water
Mix everything together in a large bowl. The texture will be a wet, sticky dough. Cover and let ferment for as long as you can - between six and twelve hours.
And unlike "Big Night," I did serve a sweet after dinner. Affogato. Drowning in delicious decadence. Swimming in caffeine. Yum.
Literally, that's what affogato means in Italian. Though, honestly, I don't remember ever seeing this concoction in Italy. But, then again, I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so I might never have noticed it. Espresso + a mini scoop of vanilla ice cream + candied lemon peel.
What fun this was! Next month is "Sideways." And June is my month; we'll be whipping up something exotic while watching "Mistress of Spices." Enjoy. ~Camilla