October was my month to host Cooking Club. It is always a challenge to come up with a theme that will impress others, so I am always throwing a few around in my head until I come up with one that I think will do. This time I decided to do wine pairings. I assigned each person a type of wine and then asked them to come up with an appropriate dish.
Here is what we ended up with. We did a damn good job if I do say so myself.
Danielle - Bottega Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco - Potato Apple Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream
Jillian - Spinelli Sangiovese - Imam Byaldi
Rosemary - Spinelli Sangiovese - Mushroom, Rapini and Sausage Baked Ziti (see below)
Mushroom, Rapini and Sausage Baked Ziti
Sauce: (makes extra sauce)
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 large can diced tomatoes
1/2 small can of tomato paste
3-5 garlic cloves minced
5 Italian sausages, cases removed, broken up into chunks
1/2 - 1 cooking onion, chopped
1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
hot pepper flakes to taste
basil and oregano
salt and pepper.
Put 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of a large saucepan. Add onion and saute 3-4 minutes. Add broken up sausage and garlic and brown. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more. Add canned tomatoes (all) and spices to taste. Simmer for at least 25-30 minutes for flavors to blend.
450 g ziti
1 bunch rapini
2 cups shredded mozzarella
parmesan to taste
Cook ziti until 3/4 done. Add cleaned and de-stemmed rapini to pasta water and continue cooking until pasta is cooked. Drain. Pour ziti and rapini into a lasagna dish. Add sauce. Mix. Cover with cheeses. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browning.
2 1/2 lb eggplant
3 onions, peeled, sliced in thin circles
1/2 cup water
5 Tbsp olive oil
5 tomatoes sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6 cloves garlic sliced thin
fresh ground pepper
juice from 1/2 a lemon
pinch of sugar
Cut eggplants in half and make at least 3 vertical slashes in each (not piercing the skin). Salt and let sit (flesh side down) for 30 minutes (rinse and dry).
Simmer onions in pot with boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and fry with 2 Tbsp olive oil until soft.
Put 1/3 of the onions and 4-5 slices of tomato in the bottom of a buttered casserole dish large enough to hold eggplants. Add remaining tomatoes to leftover onion mixture and fry for 10 minutes. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 2 Tbsp of the parsley. Continue to cook approximately 5 minutes.
Stuff remaining garlic slices in slashes of eggplants. Spoon mixture from frying pan onto eggplants. Pepper and sprinkle with parsley, sugar and lemon juice. Bake in oven on moderate heat (350F) for approximately 40 minutes (or until eggplant is soft). Can be served this way or can scoop out the mixture and blend it slightly with a hand blender.