My new friend Susan asked me if I wanted to be a part of a cooking group where a few women would get together every other month or so to cook, drink, eat (not necessarily in that order) and share stories and their love of all thing digestible. What could I say but YES!
Last night was our first gathering. The theme of the night was Tuscany and I was asked to think up something to pair with a Tuscan Lemon Chicken (Ina Garten),Bistecca all Fiorentina (MIchal Chiarello) and a panzanella salad. I had some squash in the garden so I went in search of inspiration and found a recipe for Sformati, a soufflé-like side dish that is delicious, versatile and easy. Everyone loved it and the dinner was delicious. I can't wait until next time...what will we choose for a theme?
2# zucchini or any mix of summer squash (about 4 medium), or any other veg, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, etc
2T olive oil
1/2 c onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt & pepper
2/3 c parmesan cheese + 2T for sprinkling on top
1 T butter (for greasing ramekins)
1/2 c fine bread crumbs for dusting ramekins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter eight 6-ounce ramekins. Coat with fine bread crumbs and set aside on a baking sheet. Make the balsamella (see below) and set aside to cool.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet, add the onion and garlic. Cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Add the squash (or whatever veggie), season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10-15 minutes. Puree all in a food processor until smooth. Meanwhile, beat 2 eggs lightly in a bowl; stir in the cooled balsamella. Add the squash puree and 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Divide the mixture among ramekins. Sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan and bake until a light golden crust forms on top and sformati are firm, about 30 minutes. Let settle for several minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin, hold a plate over the ramekin and invert onto the plate, then turn back over to expose the browned tops...or not! Garnish with fresh herbs or more parmesan. Serves 8.
1 c whole milk
1 T butter
1 1/2 T flour
1/4 t salt
freshly ground nutmeg
Heat 1 cup whole milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until small bubbles form at edges. (Do not allow to boil). Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a saucepan over low heat. When the butter has melted, stir in the flour all at once with a whisk. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk all at once while stirring continuously. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is smooth. Break up any lumps by pressing them against the sides. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is as dense as thick cream, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Set aside until ready to use, placing plastic wrap on the surface so a film does not form.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"