Last indulgences of winter
The days are getting longer. The spring equinox comes at the end of March, but it is still plenty cold outside. Take the chill out of the late winter evenings with this warm and comforting dish of pasta, radicchio and rich Alpine Fontina. Nutmeg is typically used in dishes with cream and cheese. freshly grated is best. Use a Microplane grater. Try using white peppercorns if you happen to have some on the spice shelf.
This is a nice transitional dish as we move from late summer into early autumn. We are using Granna Padano, but you can certainly use Pecorino or Parmesan. We are using sweet sausage today, but fennel sausage would be delicious with saffron as would a spicy variety.
Here is an uncomplicated pasta dish loaded with bright fresh flavors. Use a plum tomato or two if you have them on hand. You might want to add a clove of finely minced garlic to the tomatoes. Stack the basil leaves, roll them, then slice them into thin strips.
This is the peak season for Myer lemons. This is inspired by a dish served in Taormina with no green garnish or grated cheese. It is unusual and extra special. lt takes only minutes to prepare. Pass grated Parmigiano if you will. It makes a great first course before simply grilled fish.
If you have the inclination and some time on your hands you can make your own ravioli. A good brand of store-bought is fine. It is well worth patronizing an Italian specialty store in your area. Lifting the ravioli out of the boiling water with an Asian-style spider or slotted spoon rather than pouring them into a colander will keep them from tearing. The sauce is basically a mushroom sauté with Balsamico. Many grocery stores are now offering a mix of wild mushrooms in one container.