A day spent looking for’ funghi’ (mushrooms) for a dish of hot polenta on a cold winter day…..a fun day to look for mushrooms because I encountered so many friends and family in town while searching for the perfect mushroom..The 30th of the year and everyone wishing “tanti auguri” (good wishes) and sharing their plans for a ‘capodanno’ (New Year’s Eve). Most spending a night at home with friends and family..others going to free concert in the Coliseum in the center of Rome..to a night in the discoteca and a grand ‘cenone’ (Dinner) in many different locations. But no one had definite plans yet. After all it is only the 30th and procrastination seems to be ‘de rigeur’ here when it comes to making final decisions.
But my splendid day was ended with a cup of hot chocolate at a ‘chocolateria’ with friends..discussing plans..my mind was distracted by the thick, so chocolatey taste of this hot chocolate made with 90% cocoa..all chocolate..nothing else..as my mind wandered in and out of consciousness from the splendid taste to the plans..I seemed to lose track of the conversation…how can you concentrate on anything else?
One thing is for sure, tomorrow, December 31st, Lentil soup will be the first course, 12 grapes will be eaten and a bottle of Braccheto will pop open at the stroke of Midnight….that seems to be all you can count on in this little town where plans are always made at the last minute…but that’s okay..I like to be surprised!
Here’s a recipe for a quick appetizer for your New Year’s Eve party..I will fill you in on my menu as soon as it is figured out..that may be 10 minutes before the stroke of midnight..
This recipe makes a colorful dish and is an easy one as well. Here is a quick way to make use of leftover bread, or quickly put together a meal with things commonly found in the household pantry. An economical recipe that doesn’t taste economical. This recipe is for 4 people. The peppers can be used as a main course or as a side dish, or served with a salad. Serve with a dry white wine for a special added touch. You can even serve these stuffed peppers as an appetizer. These are great as leftovers too, so don’t hesitate to take these for lunch to work the next day, Place in a covered container and eat cold with a slice of bread or crakers or alone.
(excerpted/copyright 2010 The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition)
*2 red peppers
*2 yellow peppers
*1 tsp capers,drained
*10 ounces of day old crusty Italian bread -cut into cubes
*1-16 ounce can tuna packed in olive oil
*1 cup milk
*4 garlic cloves
Wash and dry the peppers, cut off the tops and leave the stems on, set aside. Place bread cubes and milk in separate bowl,then add in tuna, capers and a pinch of salt. Mix together. Divide the mixture amongst all 4 peppers and stuff each one. Place a whole garlic clove on top of stuffing and then top with top of pepper that was cut off. Place in a baking pan and drizzle olive oil on top of peppers. Bake in oven preheated to to 450 degrees for 30 minutes.