One of the best things about writing this blog has been discovering all the other blogs out there. Over the last six months I’ve started following at least 100 other sites. It amazes me to witness the talent out there. From cooking to photography to writing to travel and more. My personal favorite are the ones related to cooking. Surprised? I’ll assume not 😉 It seems I prepare at least one new recipe a week from some of these other sites. Lately I’ve hit the “jackpot” in new recipes. Today’s post includes 1 cookbook recipe [Gnocchi from Mario Batali’s book, Simple Italian Food] and 2 blogger posts [Farro and Arugula Salad from Proud Italian Cook and Italian Pulled Pork from The Italian Dish]. Cook them all for a fabulous feast with friends. The best part of this group of recipes is the ability to get most of the “work” done prior to feeding the group.
The Italian Pulled Pork recipe can be found at The Italian Dish. This pork shoulder is cooked slow and low in the oven. It’s flavor is enhanced with tomatoes, peperoncini, garlic, onion, red wine vinegar and herbs. The smell filling the kitchen for the 5 hour cook time is so enticing! The finished product is fabulous! Besides turning the pork over at the 1/2 way cook time, nothing else is done after the initial prep work. It’s the perfect “feed a crowd” entree. I substituted Italian seasoning for dried oregano as well as my own canned tomatoes for the San Marzano; other than that, I followed the recipe as written. It was great as a sandwich on a ciabatta roll with fresh mozzarella.
The Farro and Arugula Salad recipe can be found at Proud Italian Cook. This salad is the perfect blend of ingredients: farro and arugula [obviously], as well as olives, tomatoes, feta cheese and almonds. It is dressed with a simple blend of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I replaced the nicoise olives with kalamata [the only pitted olives I could find] and I did add a smidgen of crisped prosciutto. The salad can easily be prepared ahead of time and dressed just prior to serving – a great attribute for entertaining.
And finally…the gnocchi. This was only my second attempt at making gnocchi. Mario Batali’s recipe was simple, concise and successful. I found the recipe in one of my cookbooks, but it can also be found here, at foodnetwork.com. The 3 pounds of potatoes used yields 12 servings of gnocchi. If you’re only feeding a few people, it freezes well too. We served it this time around with a bolognese sauce [which I forgot to take pic’s of…sorry] but it also pairs well with a pesto or browned butter with sage. A simple, hand crank vegetable mill makes the job of “gnocchi making” extremely easy. The only other thing needed is patience when rolling and cutting the dough…it does take time. But…my oh my…the rewards make it more than worthwhile!
If you’re looking to complete the meal with dessert, check out my post for Tiramisu, you’ll be glad you did! You can find that recipe here.