Monday, August 16, 2010

Caponata and Pork Involtini

In February I took a professional cooking course at a local cooking school. There were nine sessions and each session we prepared a full Italian meal, which consists of antipasti (appetizer), primi piatti (first plate) which is usually pasta or rice, secondi piatti (you guessed it, second plate) which is meat, contorno (side dish or salad), and dolce (dessert). We were seperated into groups and each group would prepare one of the courses. I learned alot, but obviously I didn't get to personally make all the dishes so trying to make them on my own may take some practice. We were given the recipes from each class. The only problem is that they are in Italian. So I have to translate them. Using Google translate makes things alot easier, but somethings are lost in translation and can be a little confusing.

I have really not had the time to cook the Italian dishes since alot of the ingredients I need can't be found at the Commisary on base. However, I recently decided that I was going to pick a couple of recipes a week and go shopping for the ingredients.

I did try a pesto a few months ago that we made in class and it was horrible! One of the problems was that I didn't have a food scale. Italians use the metric system and weigh their ingredients instead of using measuring cups. For instance the recipe may call for 30 grams of cheese instead of measuring out 1/4 cup of cheese. So I was trying to convert the metric measurements to our imperial measurements and it didn't work out well. After that fiasco, my husband so kindly ordered me a food scale and it has been very helpful.

I decided last week to make Eggplant Caponata, which is an antipasto. It is probably my favorite antipasto. It consists of delicious marinated vegetables. However, I was very disappointed to learn that all the vegetables are deep fried before they are simmered in the marinade. My Caponata turned out pretty good, but not perfect. It still needs some tweeking so I will not post the recipe until I am happy with the outcome. I plan to try again this week.

This is the Caponata from class:

This is my Eggplant Caponata:

As you can see it isn't quite the same. I really don't remember potatoes or olives in the original one. I think the olives were too overpowering and I didn't like the potatoes in it. 

I also decided to make Pork Involtini, which is thinly sliced pork, stuffed, and rolled. I was very pleased with how the Involtini turned out. It was so good.

Pork Involtini
Serves 4
Pork Roast 0,800 kg
Bread-Crumbs 200 g
Grated Parmasan Cheese 30 g
Garlic 30 g
Cooked Ham 100 g
Parsley 30 g
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 30 DL
Swiss Cheese 100 g
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut pork into very thin slices.

Grate bread or put in food processor and mix with the grated Parmesan, minced garlic and season with salt, pepper, parsley and enough oil so the dough is very wet.

Stuff the meat slices with a layer of bread crumb mixture, slice of ham, and some cheese.

Roll them up in the form of roll and secure with a toothpick. One tip, don't use colored toothpicks unless you want your meat to have some color! lol!

Finally pass the rolls in seasoned breadcrumb mixture and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until done. I cooked mine about 45 minutes.

They were really delicious!!
Buon Appetito!!

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