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A Banquet of Unforgettable Flavors

Posted in Abruzzo, Caro Diario.(dear diary..), cucina, recipes, and special occasions

fagottini-di-crespelle-di-funghi.jpgagriturismi-laquila.jpg

 copyright, 2008, Maria Liberati

As  I was thinking back to almost 3 weeks ago, and the wedding celebration I attended in the beautiful, medieval city of L’Aquila, my mind became filled with all sorts of flavors. Besides the beautiful occasion, the sights and tastes of the sumptuous banquet make for unforgettable memories.The wedding was held in one of the 99 churches that populates the city. The reception at a small farm with hotel and banquet hall on the top of a hill. The view down to the city was just as memorable as the food.

The meal began outside with 2 large tables filled with any appetizer you can imagine and more, the Prosecco  was overflowing. You can imagine our surprise when a waiter  announced that we would need to go inside and sit at our assigned seats for dinner.(wasn’t this 25 course buffet table our dinner??).

Inside we found place cards at our seats listing the courses for this 8 course dinner to come.  All of a sudden, when we began to eat this magnificent dinner made up of all the local flavors, nothing seemed to have any importance but the flavors that seemed to attach themselves to my memory forever, flavors that are memories that still linger on.

The  friends and  family sitting around me seemed to have disappeared and the food commanded all of my attention to savor each and every morsel..

One of my favorite dishes  was the antipasto, the opening act to this ‘cena’:

Crespelle con funghi porcini  served with  a saffron vellutata’ (velvety) sauce. The saffron is locally produced in that area.  Crespelle is the Italian version of the French crepe.  The  crepes were made into delicate, little pouches filled with this incredible beschamel sauce.

The recipe and the memory are yours to share:

The pouch is made of a crepe (crespelle):
1 cup flour

3/4 cup milk

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon melted butter

Heat small crepe pan and when hot enough pour 1/4 cup batter onto pan, coat pan with batter, when cooked on one side ,turn over and cook on other side. Set crepes aside on plate, stacking them on top of each other putting a piece of towel paper in between each one.

For filling, a type of beschamel sauce:
1 -2 ounce package of  dried funghi porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1/2 cup warm water for 15 minutes.

1 cup milk

2 tblsps flour

2 tbsps butter

pinch of salt

1 tblsp parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Place butter in saucepan and melt. Quickly remove from heat. Sift  flour into the butter , a little at a time, mixing in well with wooden spoon or whisk. When well blended, whisk in milk. Place over heat and add in mushrooms and their liquid, then parmigiano-reggiano cheese.  Stir mixture continuously till it becomes a thick sauce, remove from heat.

When beschamel sauce is cool, take a flat plate, oen ata time, place crepe on plate and place 2 tblsps of mushroom sauce in center of crepe. Gather ends of crepe and tie like a puc hwitha long strand of fresh parsley. Repeat using all ingredients.

Place finished  pouches on baking sheet and place under broiler for 2-3 minutes, just until top becomes golden.

Vellutata Sauce:
1/3 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup flour

3 cups vegetable broth

pinch salt

pouch of saffron

Place butter in sauce pan and melt, then add in flour a little at a time whisking or stirring wiht wooden spoon till well blended.  Whisk in cold vegetable broth, a cup at time. When well belnded add in next cup, then repeat. When al lbroth has bee nadded in, continue stirring till liquid is consistency of a light sauce. Whisk in saffron quicly and remove from heat. Serve on side of pouches.
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