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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Antipasto Platters Made Easy

 

Antipasto Platters

Antipasto Platters (2)

Antipasto Platters (3)

Whenever I’m doing an Antipasto Platter, start with great quality ingredients. I like to assemble a few and dress of few.

For example, the artichokes can be tossed with strips of roasted red peppers, and the cantaloupe and breadsticks, wrap delicious cured meats.

Keeping the same items together gives a more uniform look to the platter. I also always try to utilize herbs in my garden. Here I’m using fresh basil as a garnish for the platters.

Simple dress the grape tomatoes with E.V.O.O. and a sprinkle of Kosher salt.

What’s great about this, all the ingredients are store bought. This makes these platters quick and easy to put together. For the seasoned Bocconcini, my recipe is really simple. I doubled the recipe below for my platters in the pictures you see above.

Ingredients: Marinate For Bocconcini
1-8 ounce package of mini Bocconcini
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of E.V.O.O.

Directions:
Separate all the mini mozzarella balls and place them into a small bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Using a spoon, gently mix together.

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Burrata And Prosciutto Bruschetta

 

The dish I’m making today is Burrata And Prosciutto Bruschetta. Let me give you a little background on Burrata cheese first. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside is filled with both mozzarella and cream. This gives this cheese a unique and soft texture. The mozzarella is formed into a pouch and filled with soft, stringy curd and cream. Inside each container, there are 2 mozzarella balls. This dish I’m showing you today only uses half of the mozzarella ball.

Until recently, I haven’t been to a restaurant that’s offered a dish using Burrata. I definitely wanted to recreate this dish but the biggest hurdle is being able to find this cheese. I was totally surprised to find Burrata was available at my local grocery store. Tucked away right next to the fresh mozzarella. How I missed these gems I’ll never know.

This recipe is easy to make, using a few really good ingredients. Keeping it simple is what Italian recipes do best.

Yields: 2 servings, 5 crostini per plate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Equipment: one baking sheet with a rack.

Ingredients:
1 loaf of good baguette bread, 10 toasted baguette slices, 5 per plate
1/4 cup of good olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (for bread)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper ( for bread)
1/4 cup of baby arugula leaves
2 slices of Prosciutto cut into thirds
5 mini San Marzano or grape tomatoes halved
5 tablespoons of Burrata cheese
Kosher salt- to taste
Black pepper freshly cracked- to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the baguette bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of baguette lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Slice in half eight mini San Marzano tomatoes. In a sauté pan, on medium-low heat, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the halved grape San Marzano tomatoes. Add a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper too. Toss the tomatoes around in the pan for about 2-3 minutes, just giving them enough time to softened and start to burst, then remove from the heat. Take 2 slices of Prosciutto and cut into thirds, to fit onto the toasted baguette slices.

At this point, the bread should be coming out of the oven. It’s really all about the timing. Setting the bread into the preheated oven, then sautéing the tomatoes, and slicing the prosciutto.  This allows you to complete a few easy tasks at the same time.

Once the bread and tomatoes are ready, it’s just a matter of plating the bruschetta. Take a round plate and lay 5 of the crostini in the shape of a star. Place a few baby arugula leaves on each piece of toast along with one prosciutto piece on top. Next, for the Burrata. Cut open the cheese very carefully and place a tablespoon of Burrata on top of the prosciutto. Top the cheese with two tomato halves, and finish with another light sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper.

There you have it! A beautiful small bite loaded with flavor, and the plates look appealing too.

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Stuffed Artichokes

 

Stuffed Artichoke

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Growing up, whenever there was a special occasion this dish was in high demand. I can remember she would always ask what it was that we would like her to make. Stuffed Artichokes was one of those dishes.

I believe that Italians utilize as much of a vegetable as they can. If you know anything about artichokes, much of it is either trimmed or cut. Preparing the artichokes using this method prevents that waste. Let me explain. I find that many home cooks tend to be intimidated by this strange thistle. But I’m here to fix that if I can.

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As you can see I trimmed the stalks down quite a bit and threw them in as well. They are eatable also. To keep the artichokes submerged in the boiling water, place a plate on top like this.

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Take the cooled artichoke and remove the center. This is where the thistle is located and is not editable. Start by pulling the leaves apart gently until the center of the artichoke is exposed, take a tablespoon and dig out the thistle. It looks like a circular hairy piece also known as the choke. Repeat this process for the remaining artichokes.

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You can see here above how the center is now hollowed out. To stuff, the artichokes, start with the bottom working your way around pulling the leaves apart gently and with your fingers. Continue until you reach the center. Stuff as much of the filling between the leaves as possible.

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When you’re ready to eat the Stuffed Artichokes, just pull each leaf off using the leaf as a natural spoon, getting all that deliciousness off each one. As you make your way to the center, there you’ll find the best surprise of all, the heart of the artichoke. The heart is the most tender part of the whole artichoke. Don’t forget about those stems too, YUM!

This dish is a show stopper and any dinner party.

Stuffed Artichoke

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 6- stockpot, 9 x 13 baking dish, 2 large mixing bowls

Ingredients:
4 medium fresh artichokes
4 cups of Italian style breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus 4 tablespoons
2 tablespoon pine nuts
6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
6 slices Prosciutto, julienned
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O. more if necessary
1 cup of good dry white wine
2 lemons, juiced, save lemons for the water
water

Directions:
Start by pulling off some of the outer leaves from the bottom. Then take a pair of kitchen scissors, trim the tips (the pointy sharp part) of the leaves. Next, cut the stems off so they will have a flat bottom.

Fill a 6-quart stockpot 1/2 to 3/4’s of the way up with water. Cut 2 lemons in half, juice the lemons right into the water. Throw the remaining parts of the two lemons into the water too. This prevents the artichokes from turning brown and/or oxidizing.

As you can see I trimmed the stalks down quite a bit and threw them in as well. They are eatable also. To keep the artichokes submerged in the boiling water, place a plate on top like this.

On medium-high heat, bring the artichokes up to a boil. Once up to a boil adjust the heat so as to keep the water at a boil but not so high the water boils over. Continue to cook the artichokes for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Transfer the artichokes and the stems to a large plate to cook. Prepare the filling while boiling the artichokes.

For the Filling:
In a large bowl add Italian style bread crumbs, grated garlic, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, golden raisins, freshly ground black pepper, flat-leaf Italian parsley, and julienned Prosciutto. The prosciutto and cheese are salty so no extra salt is needed. Finally, add the *E.V.O.O., stir to combine. You want the consistency of wet sand. You may need to adjust the amount of oil depending on the type and amount of breadcrumbs used.

Continued Directions:
Take the cooled artichoke and remove the center. This is where the thistle is located and is not editable.

Start by pulling the leaves apart gently until the center of the artichoke is exposed, take a tablespoon and dig out the thistle. It looks like a circular hairy piece also known as the choke. Continue to scrape out the choke until the center of the artichoke is completely hollowed out. Repeat this process for the remaining artichokes. For reference, refer to the pictures above.

To stuff, the artichokes, start with the bottom and work your way around pulling the leaves apart gently and with your fingers.  Continue until you reach the center. Stuff as much of the filling between each row of leaves.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
In a large baking dish, place the stuffed artichokes along with the stems. Add a cup of white wine. Top each artichoke with more cheese and drizzle each one with a good amount of *E.V.O.O.

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until the filling is nice and hot, the cheese is golden brown, and the artichokes have absorbed almost all of the wine.

Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.

*E.V.O.O. is short for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

 

 

 

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