As I mentioned in the last post, my assignment was to bring appetizers for 8 people as the preamble to a Tuscan style dinner. When I’m responsible for only one course, it’s a fun opportunity to make something more involved than I’d make if I was cooking the entire meal.
Not knowing everyone’s food preferences, I decided to make one vegetarian dish and one with meat. I chose this recipe for Peperoni Arrotolati (no, I couldn’t remember what it was named to tell everyone who asked) from the tuscanrecipes.com website. They are pretty, festive and more involved than I would consider making for my own dinner party.
The recipe calls for mortadella, ground meat and cooked ham, with egg and bread crumbs to bind them, plus peppers. I used red, yellow and orange peppers–there are remarkable differences in their flavor.
For the vegetarian option, I made Spinach Pesto. I found several recipes on my initial search, but this is the first one I could locate when it was time to actually make it: Delicious House: Giada’s Garden Pesto with Basil, Baby Spinach, Pine Nuts, and Parmesan.
I used grown-up spinach vs. baby spinach, and didn’t have as much basil to put in as the proportions in this recipe. I didn’t measure the oil, but it definitely was less than what was called for. It turned out wonderfully, and boy, was it ever a glorious green!
I bought two skinny loaves of bread from Bay Cities to serve with the pesto (a baguette shape; but is that what they call them in Italy?), and sliced up and toasted the 1-1/2 loaves that survived the drive home. Their bread has a delicious chew and a crispy crust.
I served the pesto in a pretty old fluted painted china bowl, decorated with three nasturtium blooms from the garden, two orange and one yellow.
I love how nasturtiums reseed themselves and come up as volunteers! I take it as a personal compliment.