Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tour of Italy ~ Day 5... The Art of Anti-Pasti

There are two good ways to start an Italian meal,
1. with a great aromatic wine or spirit-based drink flavored with items like herbs, spices and/or fruits designed to cleanse the plate and whet the appetite.
2. a wide variety of anti-pastis, this could include an array of meats, cheeses, breads, dipping oils, marinated shrimp and don't forget the olives and figs.

So, since we are not drinkers of Wines, Spirits or hard Ales at our house... We choose to indulge ourselves on the small bites of goodness that are meant to be served before the main meal known as the Anti-Pastis.

Many kinds of Anti-pastis are available now in already prepared containers at most local stores or take out deli's. The planning is simple, for a party of 6 -12 people, you will probably want at least 4 to 6 different platters. Variety is always the best and make sure you have the bread or crackers to go with it.

To start our tour of Italy off... (and because I have so many mushrooms left over from our pizza party yesterday), I would like to share one of my favorite recipes from the Magazine that we are using as our study guide.

Marinated Mushrooms

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
  • 2 pounds small mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic; sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Discard garlic. Increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms and parsley; sauté until mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature. Transfer to container; cover and chill until cold. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.) Drain mushrooms before serving.

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