Talk about a unique opportunity. How about getting invited to the home of a cookbook author? Even more, her husband is a renowned wine expert.
We had been looking forward to this for weeks and when the day finally arrived and the front door opened a mouthwatering aroma coming from the kitchen hit us in the face.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of the dark hand carved formal dining table set with the finest china, crystal and sterling silver all foreboding a meal that would delight the pallet. As the evening drew on it was obvious that our hosts had spared no time or expense, every detail was considered seemingly with such ease, and I could not help but feel like a cherished guest in their home. I knew this would be a night for the record books and it was; the food, the wine and most of all the incredible company.
Debbie was kind enough to share the recipes from our special evening together; it was hard to choose which to include today but since I cannot stop thinking about the creamy delectable artichoke bottom soup, it was a must. Our main course was Osso Buco that was so tender it absolutely melted in your mouth served alongside traditional satisfying Wild Mushroom Risotto. If you have not tried cooking this exotic sounding Milanese dish, you can see below that it really is simple to prepare and risotto is the perfect accompaniment when you have friends in the kitchen sipping wine as you stir! I hope you will get in the kitchen and try these scrumptious recipes soon, I know you will enjoy them as much as we did.
Debbie Gore, author of Good Friends Great Tastes, and my dear friend, will send anyone that responds to this article an Ecopy of her book as her gift to my readers! You simply must have this wonderful book as resource on your desktop.
Cream of Artichoke Bottom Soup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 rib celery finely diced
1 large clove garlic minced
1 leek cleaned and sliced white only
1 8.5ounce can artichoke bottoms drained and chopped
1 large russet potato peeled and diced
1 smoked ham hock
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
4 ounce mascarpone
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounce prosciutto diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery and leek.
Sauté until onion is translucent and vegetables are soft. Add the artichoke bottoms, potatoes, broth and cream. Simmer approximately 25 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Add the brandy and the mascarpone. Let cool slightly and blend in blender (cover lid with a towel) or use an emulsion blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste soup and season with salt and pepper, to serve, warm to desired temperature. Serve with prosciutto and parsley sprinkled over the top.
***For even more decadence, divide the remaining mascarpone among bowls and spoon the hot soup over the mascarpone. Sprinkle with prosciutto.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium garlic cloves minced
2 medium shallots finely chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, shitake, portabella and or oyster
1 cup Arborio rice
2 1/3 cup chicken stock mixed with 1 cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a skillet and add the garlic, shallots and mushrooms. On medium-low heat sauté until the shallots turn translucent. Add the rice and sauté for another two minutes. Using either a measuring cup with a spout or a ladle, start to add the stock and water. Add the stock a third of a cup at a time stirring constantly until all the stock is absorbed. Add more stock as all the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add the stock until you reach the desired consistency. Once the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes, add the cream and stir until it is also absorbed. The risotto should be tender, yet firm to the bite (al dente). Cover and lower heat or turn off heat until ready to serve. If the risotto appears too dry, add more broth and reheat and continue to stir until you reach the desired consistency. Just before serving, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and serve warm.
1/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt divided
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 veal shanks about 4 pounds
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon rosemary finely chopped
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves minced and divided
2 small carrots chopped
1 ½ cups dry white wine
1 ¼ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ tablespoons fresh parsley
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
Season the 1/3 cup flour with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Put this mixture in a large sealable plastic bag or on a large platter and roll the veal shanks in the flour mixture. Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven and cook the meat over medium heat until golden on all sides. Arrange the meat in a single layer and sprinkle with the sage, rosemary, onion, 1 minced garlic clove, carrots and celery. Sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining salt and cook 10 minutes covered. (Onion must be translucent before continuing.) Add the wine, broth and tomato paste and turn heat down to low. Simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the meat is fork tender. (You can place the Dutch oven in the oven at 300°F for the same amount of time.) Mix the remaining garlic, fresh parsley and lemon zest together to make the Gremolate and set aside. Remove the veal to a platter. Heat the remaining sauce to a boil on the stovetop. In a separate small bowl, mix together the remaining 3 tablespoons softened butter and 2 tablespoons flour. Add to the boiling sauce and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the flour mixture thickens the sauce. When ready to serve, put a veal shank on each plate, spoon sauce over and sprinkle with the Gremolata mixture. Pass extra sauce separately. Serve with Risotto.