‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and feast like an Italian

15 Sep ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and feast like an Italian

Homemade biscotti
SYDNE GEORGE PHOTO
 
  Elizabeth Gilbert fans every­where are pouring into theaters to eat, pray and love alongside Julia Roberts, in director Ryan Murphy’s movie adaptation of Gilbert’s best-selling book “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.”

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.

Buon Appetito!

Menu

Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Shaved Parmesan
 

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

  ½ cup balsamic vinegar

 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

(serves 12)

 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.

Serves 12.

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

 3 eggs

 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.

Cool.

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.

She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hot­mail.com

By SYDNE GEORGE

For the Tribune

 

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