15 Sep ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and feast like an Italian
Gilbert’s memoir, which came out in 2006, remains on the New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Best-seller List for 182 weeks and sold more than 8 million copies. The movie has grossed more than $60 million since its opening on Aug. 13.
There’s obviously a healthy appetite for Gilbert’s gratifying travel memoir, which chronicles her international journey to find pleasure, devotion and balance as she divides her yearlong adventure into stints in Italy to eat, in India to pray and in Indonesia, where she unexpectedly finds love.
“Eat Pray Love” food stylist Susan Spungen satisfies the inner foodie in all of us with close-ups of Roberts enjoying a plate of pasta arrabiata, a pasta dish made with fresh ripe tomatoes and spicy red chili peppers. Another mouth-watering scene shows Roberts practicing her Italian by ordering saltimbocca (veal with ham and sage), tagliatelle con vongale (long thin ribbons of pasta with clams), carciofi (artichokes) and arugula salad.
I found myself drooling over the food photography and already planning an Italian dinner party menu, only a third of the way into the movie.
Definitely worth seeing, “Eat Pray Love” provides the perfect opportunity to get together with the gals, view the movie and then head back home for an Italian feast inspired by Liz’s food orgy in Italy.
Hungry for a girls’ night out? If dinner and a movie sound appetizing, this might be just the ticket for you.
Chicken Saltimbocca Lasagna
Pistachio and Dried Cherry Biscotti dipped in Dark Chocolate
MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE AND SHAVED PARMESAN
2 5-ounce containers mixed greens, washed and dried
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese strips, shaved from a wedge with vegetable peeler
In a small jar, combine oil, vinegar, cream, honey, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Toss mixed greens with dressing and divide among salad plates. (You may not need all of the dressing.) Top each salad with a few parmesan strips and serve.
CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA LASAGNA
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 pounds thickly sliced chicken breast (from the deli), cut in 1-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup white wine
24-ounce jar vodka sauce (pasta aisle)
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
½ pound prosciutto, thinly sliced and cut into strips
1 9-ounce package no-cook lasagna noodle sheets
Freshly snipped thyme
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are lightly browned.
Add thyme, oregano, salt, white wine and Vodka sauce.
Simmer until reduced slightly, about 15 minutes.
Brush a 15-by-9-inch lasagna pan with olive oil.
Into the pan, layer: 1 cup sauce 4 sheets lasagna noodles Grated cheese-Prosciutto strips Continue layering until you have used all ingredients, ending with cheese and prosciutto strips.
At this point, you may cover and refrigerate until ready to bake if desired.
Pour cream over and bake for about 40 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let set up for 10-15 minutes.
Slice in squares and garnish with freshly snipped thyme.
These crisp cookies are meant to be dunked in coffee, tea, milk or even better, something bubbly, when eaten.
PISTACHIO AND DRIED CHERRY BISCOTTI DIPPED IN DARK CHOCOLATE
2 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. almond extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup pistachios, shelled, and coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped-Preheat
oven to 350°.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
With an electric mixer, beat together eggs, oil and almond extract until combined.
Sift together dry ingredients and add to eggs, oil and almond extract.
Stir in pistachios and cherries until evenly distributed.
Using rubber spatula, spread dough onto parchment in 2 12inch long strips.
Wet fingertips in a small bowl of cold water and form each strip into a log about 3 inches wide. Smooth top of each log with wet fingertips.
Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on cutting board for 30 minutes.
Discard parchment paper.
Cut each log into ½-inch wide slices.
Line two baking sheets with new parchment and stand biscotti up in rows, leaving room between each cookie.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until light golden.
Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler or in microwave, being careful not to keep it over the heat too long. Stir until smooth.
Dip half of each biscotti in melted chocolate or drizzle chocolate over biscotti.
Makes about three dozen.
Sydne George is a freelance writer specializing in recipe development, food journalism and food photography.
By SYDNE GEORGE