Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Here's the Dish

I'm still dreaming about this meal. It's a keeper. 

Make your shopping list, get your ingredients, and give it a try. You'll be glad you did.

Let's take it from the top with the appetizer:

Pea Pesto Crostini


For the pesto:
1 10-ounce package of frozen peas, defrosted
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/3 cup olive oil

For the crostini:
8 1/2-inch-thick slices of whole-grain baguette or ciabatta bread, preferably day-old
1/3 cup olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato, diced

To make the pea pesto: Pulse together the peas, garlic, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add in the olive oil until it is well combined, which takes about one to two minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

To make the crostini: Preheat a stovetop griddle or grill pan on medium-high heat.

Brush both sides of the sliced bread with olive oil and grill until golden, which takes about one to two minutes.

Transfer the bread to a clean surface and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the prepared pesto on each slice. Top with tomato and serve.

So far, so good. Let's move on to the main course!

Individual Lasagnas with fresh sweet corn and mascarpone cheese,
                served with blistered tomatoes and roasted asparagus


For the lasagnas:
Butter for greasing the ramekins
12 lasagna sheets
3 cups fresh corn
1/2 cup whipping cream, at room temperature
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup, or 8 ounces, mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup, or 4 ounces, finely grated Romano cheese, plus 1/2 cup, or 2 ounces,
Zest of one large lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1.5 cups, or 6 ounces, shredded sharp Provolone cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

For the blistered tomatoes:
1 pound, or 2 dry pints, cherry tomatoes

For the roasted asparagus
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed
You’ll need (6) 10-ounce ramekins

To make the lasagnas: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter six 10-ounce ramekins. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, which takes about eight minutes.

Using two cooked lasagna noodles in an "x" shape, line each ramekin, pushing the noodles gently into the bottom of the ramekins, allowing any excess pasta to overhang the side.

In a food processor, blend the corn, cream and garlic until chunky. Add the mascarpone cheese, 1 cup Romano cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until just combined. 

Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling into the bottom of each ramekin. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of Provolone cheese on top.

Fold two overhanging pieces of pasta over the filling. Trim the ends of the pasta with scissors, if necessary. Add another 1/4 cup of filling and top with another 2 tablespoons Provolone cheese.

Fold over the two remaining pieces of pasta. Spoon any remaining filling on top of the ramekins. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/2 cup Romano cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool for 10 minutes.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the lasagnas. 
Unmold the lasagnas and transfer to serving plates.

For the blistered tomatoes and roasted asparagus: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place asparagus and tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for five to eight minutes or until crisp tender.

Whew! While that's doing its thing in the oven, 
go ahead and get your truffle on.

Tarragon and Merlot Truffles

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves
3 tablespoons Merlot wine
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place the cream and chocolate in a medium bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, which takes about six minutes.

Stir in the tarragon, wine and salt until smooth.

Refrigerate for two hours until firm. Let the mixture stand at room temperature until moldable, which takes about 45 minutes.

Using a melon scoop, scoop level amounts of the truffle mixture on to the prepared baking sheet. Roll into 1/2-inch balls.

Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until coated.

Arrange on a platter and serve or refrigerate in an airtight container.

Don't be scared to try this one. Let me know how you do!



Anonymous said...

Yum! I can vouch for the deliciousness!
Thanks for sharing the recipes.

Jeanette said...

What a lovely meal you prepared - I especially like the pea pesto crostini - so bright and beautiful!

TomR said...

I have GOT to stop reading your blog before bedtime. ;^) Love the lil' lasagnas, they look perfect. Of course, you had me at pesto.

Christi's Chirps said...

Tiff, I am so happy you loved these dishes. I especially loved having you over.

Hi, Jeanette--Thanks for stopping by! Yes, you must try the pea pesto costini. It's easy to prepare and oh-so delicious!

Hey, Tom! I really appreciate your visits! :) Give the lil' lasagnas a try! You'll love them! And, like I was telling Jeanette, the pea pesto crostini's are AH-MAZING!

Taste and Tell said...

I am loving the corn in the lasagnas!