Friday, May 27, 2011

You Gonna Eat That? Part II

Wild asparagus picked in the forests on Mt. Subasio.  We have had this in frittate, pasta and then yesterday we had wild asparagus canneloni, which I ate so fast, I didn't take a photo.  BUT, la mia sorrella  Daniela took me through the steps to make this and it's absolutely simple in its preparation.  I'm assuming that your grocer may not have wild asparagus for you to buy, but the pencil thin variety will do just fine for this presentation. 

Canneloni di Asparagi
Serves 6 to 8
Although there are a few steps to make this, it's a winner and can be made ahead and then baked when you are ready.  Refrigerates for up to 2 days ahead.  If you want to add a bit of protein, cooked chicken, crab, shrimp or halibut would work well here.  

Romano Cream Sauce
Makes about 4 cups
I've lightened this up a bit with some chicken broth, or you can sub. veg. broth.

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
3 drops Tabasco
1 1/2 cups freshly grated aged Pecorino Romano
  1.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, and add the flour, whisking for 3 minutes, until the flour is cooked.  
  2. Add the chckien broth and milk, and bring back to a boil.  
  3. Season with Tabasco.  
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Pecorino, whisking until melted.  (the sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

11/2  pounds pencil thin asparagus
Trim the tough ends of the asparagus, and cut the asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.  Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, and remove to a bowl filled with ice to preserve the color.  Save 1 cup of asparagus, and stir the remainder into the cream sauce.


12 sheets fresh pasta for lasagna (generally 5x7-inches--depend on your pasta shop)
Asparagus cream sauce (preceding recipe)

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggianno cheese
  1. Coat the inside of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Spread a thin layer of the cream sauce onto the bottom of the pan.  '
  3. n a flat surface, lay one sheet of lasagne, top with a few of the reserved asparagus, and 2 tablespoons of cream sauce.  
  4. Roll up and place seam side down into the casserole dish.  
  5. Repeat until the pasta and cream sauce are used up.  
  6. Top the canneloni with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the Parmigiano.  
  7. Bake the canneloni for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbling and the cheese begins to turn golden brown.  Allow to rest before serving. 

Pollo Umbriaco
Serves 8
Umbriaco means drunk, and this chicken is soused!  Drenched with white wine, extra virgin olive oil and rosemary, it's heaven on a plate, and all you do is bake it--it literally cooks itself!  New potatoes are being sold by the roadside here, and they are like candy when roasted --- they are also drunk having been doused with white wine, and olive oil.  

3 pounds new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
Two 3-pound roasting hens, cut int half

 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In 2 large baking dishes, arrange the potatoes, sprinkle with half the oil, wine salt, pepper and rosemary, and stir to coat.  Lay two half chickens skin side down over the potatotes, and sprinkle the interior with some of the oil, wine, salt, pepper and rosemary, turn the chicken over and repeat.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Bake the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, coating with some of the pan juices 1/2 way through the cooking time.  Serve the chicken and potatoes with a mache salad dressed with lemon and olive oil.   


I will admit that I could eat my weight in the potatoes alone, but was very good and left a few for the other guests!  We have met so many interesting people who stop by the enoteca to purchase wine...this really is what travel is all about...meeting new people and enjoying the moment.  It has been over 85 degrees the past few days, and it's really not weather for walking around ruins or touring, so we've been hanging out enjoying la famiglia.
Buona sera from Spello.

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