copyright, 2010, Maria Liberati
“A torta (cake) made with love always bakes perfect and delicious!”..that was the conversation at a dinner we hosted . An acquaintance of ours recounted how she made a cake for her young son. Anxiously awaiting the freshly baked torta, sitting at the kitchen table and upon tasting the still warm, freshly baked sweet, he exclaimed “Mamma, the torta is ‘perfetta’ (perfect)!
So we all deduced that must be it ..the secret ingredient in Italian cooking.LOVE…
As we supped on the meal I made of Lasagne Melanzane (Lasagne with Eggplant), Zuppa di Pesce (Fish Soup), Insalata (salad), Macedonia (Fresh Fruit salad), Torta di Principe Eugenio ( Prince Eugenio Cake-chocolate and raspberries)..with dinner guests from not only Italy but Russia, Slovakia, France, Spain and other parts of the World…
The unanimous vote about the best ingredient for a recipe..from our United Nations confab of ‘foodie’ dinner guests was always LOVE..
So here is one of the recipes from the dinner, but remember the only ingredient that you must put in that is not listed here is LOVE…….
Lasagne alla Melanzane ( lasagna with eggplant)
(from the winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards-The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays &Special Occasions)
1 pound of fresh pasta for lasagna
2 lbs fresh eggplant- sliced and grilled
1 lb fresh mozzarella or scamorza
1handful of fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 lbs fresh tomatoes or 2-16 ounce cans of plum tomatoes
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 tblsps of grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese
2 cloves garlic-whole
In saute pan, place in olive oil, 2 cloves garlic. Saute for 1 minute or until garlic is just turning golden. Remove garlic. Add in tomatoes and oregano. Stir and cook for 20 minutes.
In baking pan, place thin layer of sauce, one layer of pasta, one layer of eggplant slices, then thinly sliced mozzarella, sauce, freshly chopped basil. Repeast till all ingredients are used up ending with slices of eggplant,mozzarella, sauce on top. Bake in oven preheated to 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then sprinkle grated parmigiana cheese on top and bake for another 20 minutes. Put under broiler for last 5 minutes or until cheese bubbles. Serve hot.
After a dinner like this serve artisan chocolates.
Mangia Bene, Vivi Bene