Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Italian Dinner

Tonight I cooked an Italian dinner for myself and Ben. We started out with a chilled beet salad, served with aged balsamic vinegar. For the main course, we had homemade pesto sauce on orechiette pasta. I also made latte di mandorla (almond milk), a traditional drink from Sicily and Puglia. For dessert, we ate cannolis (see my previous post) and each had a shot of the Limoncello that I brought back in my suitcase from Italy.

Beet Salad


4 large beets
aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze (you want it to be thick and slightly sweet)
olive oil

Slice the green part off of the beets and boil for 30 minutes (until soft). The skin should peel right off if the beets are cooked properly. Chill in the freezer in a metal bowl for 30 minutes. Slice and drizzle with balsamic glaze, olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.


2 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
4 TBSPS pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Latte di Mandorla (Almond Milk)

2 Liters of water
200 grams of almond paste (available in the baking aisle of most grocery stores)
2 heaping TBSPS sugar

Cut the almond paste into pieces that will fit inside of a closed fist. Pour mineral water into a large bowl and immerse the first piece of almond paste. Knead the almond paste ball, occasionally removing it from water and wringing it out over the bowl. Add the next piece of almond paste to the ball and continue this process until the almond paste is mostly dissolved (it is very difficult to get it to dissolve completely). Pour the white liquid from the bowl into a pitcher, straining it with a cheese cloth. Stir in the sugar and refrigerate. Serve the latte di mandorla over ice.

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