a dinner for Marcella

the table is set

It was our turn to host supper club, but we hadn’t been sure what our theme would be. Then we heard the news of Marcella Hazan’s passing, and decided to have a dinner composed of her recipes to honor her work. I hope she would have been pleased.

stuffed tomatoes

We began the evening with a Fior di Sicily cocktail, then sat down to Jenise’s appetizer of tomatoes stuffed with freshly smoked salmon, accompanied by chickpea focaccia with rosemary and onions.

chickpea focaccia

ravioli

Linda and Mike brought the pasta course: ravioli made of fresh spinach pasta stuffed with lamb. We weren’t sure whether the bell pepper topping was the best pairing (I would have gone for a garlic-yogurt sauce to complement the lamb), but the ravioli was fabulous.

the pork station

I made my favorite milk-braised pork, a recipe that every American cookbook author attributes to Marcella. I used the shoulder roast from our Well Fed pig, and it was succulent and wonderful. We loaded our plates in the kitchen, piling the pork and its milk gravy over mashed potatoes and long-simmered Tuscan kale with chile and anchovies.

greens

salad

Alongside the pork we also served Georgiann’s salad of thinly sliced cucumbers, peppers and salted lemons. Not everyone seemed to like the lemons for straight eating, but I loved them, especially with the rich porky sauce.

main course

beverages

As usual, there were some great wines.yolks

For dessert we had Port, Muscat and some polenta shortbread cookies, and Jon made an unlikely-sounding recipe from Marcella Cucina called a dolce pievano. It started by hard-boiling eight eggs, then mashing their yolks with butter, sugar, coffee and rum, adding cocoa to half of it, then piling these mixtures into marsala-soaked ladyfingers and letting it all sit for a day or two. The filling seemed a bit dry, and the ladyfingers kept trying to fall off when we unmolded it, but the dessert was interestingly textured and not too sweet. The leftovers just keep getting better in the fridge.

flavorings

dolce pievano in progress

dunking

unmolding

repairing

dessert

Thank you, Marcella!

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