26 February 2013

Tuscany Delight on Italian Dinner Night

Dear Friends,
       It is February and although the month is short, the winter days are long and cold in Norfolk, known as the icebox of Connecticut. I have, however, learned to appreciate the solitude of the season and nothing can replace snuggling up with a good book in front of the flames crackling away in the fireplace. But something has come close and that is international dinner night. The idea was the brainchild of my good friend Jan to help combat cabin fever and to inspire our appetites during this time where there is a scarcity of fresh looking food in the markets.
    Every other week a new cultural menu is introduced at a somewhat structured potluck dinner. Each dinner is hosted at a different home and everyone signs up for what they will bring. The theme is weaved into the evening through music, dress, and setting. The experience is authentic and the meal    completely transporting.
     Here is a glimpse of Tuscany night. Fun, friends, and good food made for a dinner party that lasted way past midnight. I wish you all were there to enjoy it with us.

godersi la vita 


Kale salad

Cauliflower Pizza
Cauliflower Pizza
  • 3 cups cauliflower shredded (I used a grater because my food processor is MIA)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tb. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tb. granulated Garlic
  • Salt
  • 1/2c shredded cheese
Directions: Cook shredded cauliflower in a skillet until soft, about 6 minutes. Mix with remaining ingredients and form a pizza shape of your choice, preferably a circle or square but if you’re some kind of artist feel free to express yourself. Top with your choice of veggies.


Olive Oil
Sliced baguette
tomato sliced

Brush top of toasted bread with EVOO. Spread on pesto. Top with tomato and sliced olive.

Large Cheese Ravioli
Tomato Sauce with kale, red pepper, and onions

Cook ravioli according to directions. Make a tomato sauce. Saute other ingredients, blend together and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Mushroom Lasagna and Tomato Lasagna

Best Ever Tomato Sauce for Tomato Lasagna
2 large onions
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup EVOO
2 large cans of tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1tsp salt
pepper to taste
2tsp oregano
1tdp basil
1tsp rosemary

IN a large pot saute onions and garlic in the EVOO on low heat  until golden. Add other ingredients and simmer for at least and hour. I simmer for two/three hours and stir often and sometimes if needed add a bit of Berkshire Spring water. Use fresh lasagna pasta ( 3 sheets) , 1 pound ricotta cheese, 1/2 Parmesan and 1 lb mozzarella. Mix ricotta with one egg salt/pepper,a handful of fresh parsley. Scoop some sauce on bottom of 9x13 inch dish. Layer one sheet of pasta, half of the ricotta mix, 1/2 lb of sliced mozzarella, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Top with scoop of sauce and spread to all sides. Layer another sheet of pasta and repeat. Layer last sheet of pasta, cover with rest of sauce and sprinkle some Parmesan of top. Bake at 375 for about thirty minutes or until bubbly. 


6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted. Pour into a nice shaped mold.

Tuscany Soup


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1 1/4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chicken or veggie broth
 4 cups water
 2 potatoes, halved and sliced
 2 cups sliced kale
 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
 3 to 4 sliced carrots
  1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)

1..Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent; add garlic and cook 1 minute.
2.Stir in broth, water and potatoes; simmer 15 minutes.
3.Reduce heat to low and add sausage, kale and cream; simmer until heated through 


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