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blog swirl & savor

Semplice, Italian Fast Food!

Beth Ribblett

Real Parmigiano-Reggiano, not the dried fuzzy stuff you sprinkle from a can, is an amazing cheese. Following the strictest guidelines from the Consorzio del Formaggio it can only be made in a small area of northern Italy, a place where the soil, the climate and the geography all come together to yield a quality of milk found no where else in the world. There is nothing fast about the process of making it - it's aged for an average of 24 months, the longest of any hard cheese.  And they've used the same recipe for the last 9 centuries...

Our friends over a St. James Cheese have been bringing fantastic selections from a few new producers and el Casey brought me a sample from Giorgio Cavero the other day to see if we were interested in carrying it. I figured the best way to put the sample to use was to cook something with it, so I designed our meal last night around this beautiful hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and another special ingredient given to us by our friends over at Cleaver & Co.

Knowing our love for all things Italian, Seth gave us a sample of their house made bresaola to try. Bresaola is an air dried salt cured beef from Lombardia that has been aged 2-3 months until it turns a deep reddish brown color. It has a musty sort of sweet aroma and is seasoned with a dry rub of coarse salt and spices like juniper berries, cinnamon and nutmeg. And besides eating it thinly sliced on a charcuterie plate, there is a classic Italian salad that involves bresaola and, of course, parmigiano cheese...

So it's Saturday night, we have a big MS training ride tomorrow and what better excuse to make a light, quick pasta and salad? I have the perfect, fresh, high quality ingredients for 2 Italian dishes, Insalata di Bresaola and Spaghetti al Limone.

Insalata di Bresaola
This is a simple, simple classic salad served in Italy that is amazingly flavorful if you use top quality ingredients.

Two big handfuls of arugula
1/4 lb sliced Bresaola from Cleaver & Co.
A few slivers of sweet onion
Excellent quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used the Terre Nere that we sell at swirl)
Fresh lemon juice
Shavings of DOP Parmigiano-Reggiano ( I used the from St. James, soon to be at swirl)

Spread your two handfuls of arugula on a flat plate, top with bresaola and onion slivers. Shave the cheese on top, as much as you want. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and drizzle with olive oil.  Enjoy, serves 2!

Spaghetti al Limone
I found a few Meyer lemons last week at the market that have been sitting in my fruit bowl waiting for something special to happen.  When I brought home the cheese, I knew why I had waited...

Ingredients:
1 T. coarse salt (for the pasta water)
1 gallon of water
1/2 lb. of spaghetti (I used a really nice pappardelle)
5 T. butter (we have the Parma butter from Italy at the shop made from the cream of the cow's milk used to for the cheese, amazing!)
zest of 1 lemon
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. freshly grated DOP Parmigiano-Reggiano (I used the from St. James, soon to be at swirl)
Excellent quality Extra Virgen Olive Oil (I used the Terre Nere that we sell at swirl)
Basil leaves for garnish

Heat water for the pasta. When it’s boiling, add about 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the zest, juice, salt and pepper. Heat for about 1 minute. When the pasta is done, toss it into the skillet with the lemon butter, add the basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss until spaghetti is evenly coated. Serve immediately, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and garnished with basil, offering extra Parmigiano-Reggiano to grate at the table.
Serves 2


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