Farewell dinner (Italian style)
So a few weeks ago we said goodbye to our wonderful friends, James and Maureen. We got to know them almost four years ago when they ended up in Hanau, Germany with Will and I, and they moved to Kaiserslautern with us in the summer of 2007. Sadly, they are now living about 4 hours away in the town of Garmisch, in Bavaria (yeah I know...they're really roughing it!). ;) Will and I gave them one last Sunday dinner send-off, and much fun was had by all. The menu included salate di Marisa, garlic bread, manicotti, and meatballs. Dessert normally would have been included, but since Will and I gave up sweets for Lent, we've been managing without (although it hasn't been easy, that's for sure! Tiramisu would have been the perfect ending to this dinner!). So, without further ado, here are the recipes for James and Maureen's going away dinner. Best of luck to you guys always-you made our stay here in Germany unforgettable, and you will be greatly missed. Let us know when you're ready for some visitors!
Salate di Marisa
1-2 heads Romaine lettuce (depends on how many guests you have)
2 vine tomatoes
2 baby cucumbers
1 small red onion
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 avacado, if in season
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
coarse ground black pepper and seasoned salt
optional: seasoned croutons
1. Cut off the stems of the Romaine lettuce and discard. Separate each leaf and wash thoroughly under cold water. Set each leaf into a large bowl, and either chill for 1/2 hour or let sit. Tear each of the leaves into medium-sized pieces, and place into a large salad bowl.
2. Chop up the tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, red onion and avacado and put in salad bowl with the Romaine. Add the croutons and the cheese.
3. In a small dish, add the vegetable oil, soy sauce, juice from one lemon, black pepper and a generous amount of seasoned salt. Whisk together until completely blended, then add to the salad bowl. MIX WELL-I've found the best way to do this is use my hands.
1 loaf Italian bread, Torrono if you can find it in your area
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Slice the bread, not too thick but definitely not too thin (it won't cook well otherwise)
3. In a small bowl, add the butter and garlic. Mash together.
4. Spread a generous amount of the butter/garlic mixture onto each bread slice. When finished, cover the entire loaf with tinfoil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, and leave in tinfoil until you're ready to eat.
Sunday gravy, about 4-5 cups
1-2 lbs manicotti shells
3 T chopped parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 lbs ricotta *
16 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella
1/2 lb sharp provolone, chopped into little pieces
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook the manicotti shells until al dente.
3. In a large bowl, combine all the cheeses, plus the egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix together, then set aside.
4. In a large roasting or lasagna pan, spread about 1-2 cups of the gravy on the bottom. Stuff each manicotti shell with the filling, until it's about to spill out of the ends. Place each manicotti shell on a single layer in the pan.
5. When you're finished stuffing the manicotti shells, add a few more cups of the gravy to the top, lightly covering the pasta. Add enough of the parmigiano reggiano to the top to cover the whole pan.**
6. Cover with tinfoil, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling.