Italian appetizers aplenty A second helping of recipes and ingredients, continued from page 14 by Evan Noetzel ONLINE EXCLUSIVE f the premade and homemade Italian appetizers and side dishes featured “Buon appetito!” (page 14) merely whetted your appetite, then read on for more appetizer solutions. Here, we serve up a second helping of recipes and ingredients that offer bold Italian flavor and great value. I Always versatile, polenta can be plated as an appetizer or a hearty side. What’s more, this Northern Italian dish of savory cornmeal can be incorporated into your menu without the prep time you’d expect. Available through Simplot’s UpSides brand, Three Cheese Polenta Rounds offer consistent, from-scratch quality in a convenient, premade form—which appeals to chefs of all stripes. Celebrity chef Cat Cora grills her UpSides polenta cakes and tops them with Swiss chard, Parmigiano-Reggiano, candied pumpkin seed and a balsamic glaze (as pictured above). Visit Carlo Macaluso, executive chef, Cita’s Italian Chophouse, Coconut Grove, Fla.,; wine pairing by Marlene Rossman Yield: 2-4 servings 20 oz. white bread 2 c. milk 4 oz. olive oil 10 oz. garlic, minced 4 oz. onion, minced 4 whole eggs 1 oz. fresh oregano 1 t. red pepper 3 oz. ketchup 6 oz. Parmesan cheese 6 oz. breadcrumbs 3 oz. salt 1 oz. black pepper 2 lbs. ground pork 2 lbs. ground veal 2 lbs. ground beef Tomato sauce, for serving POLPETTE DELLA NONNA Riccardo Ullio, chef/owner, Fritti Restaurant, Atlanta,; wine pairing by Marlene Rossman Yield: 24 servings 12 lb. assorted mushrooms (white, crimini, portobello, shiitake, etc.) 4 1/2 c. water 1 1/2 c. white wine 6 c. rice flour 1/4 c. fresh rosemary Salt and pepper, to taste Canola oil, as needed Truffle oil, for serving FUNGHI FRITTI Method (1) Stem and cut mushrooms into bite-sized pieces; set aside. (2) Pour water and wine into large bowl, then slowly whisk in rice flour until batter is the consistency of thick gravy. (3) Chop rosemary; add to batter, and season with salt and pepper. (4) Add mushrooms; toss until lightly and evenly coated. (5) For each serving, fry 8 oz. of mushrooms in canola oil at 350°F for 3-4 minutes or until the batter is crisp; use metal spoon to keep mushrooms from clumping. (6) Drain mushrooms on paper towel, then drizzle very lightly with truffle oil, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Wine pairing: For a culinary match made in heaven, serve these fried mushrooms with a luscious Benovia Pinot Noir 2006 (California). Method (1) Tear bread into small pieces, and place in medium bowl. Cover with milk, and soak 5 minutes, then squeeze milk out of bread until just moist. (2) In large bowl, combine bread with all remaining ingredients by hand until evenly mixed. (3) Break off 1/4 cup-sized pieces of mixture, and roll into balls. Place meatballs on sheet pan, and bake at 300°F for 35-40 minutes. Serve hot with tomato sauce. Wine pairing: A spicy, fruity Caliterra Reserva Carmenere 2007 (Chile) really rocks with this gorgeous take on Grandma’s meatballs. Often, the difference between a dull dish and a tasty treat is measured by a single ingredient—and when it comes to Italian-style appetizers, a little bit of garlic goes a long way. For everything from bruschetta to salads to pastas, Gilroy, Calif.-based Christopher Ranch offers its sustainably grown Heirloom Fresh Peeled Garlic. True to its name, Fresh Peeled Garlic is ready to use right out of the package, which cuts down on labor, time and kitchen waste. Visit April 2009 | 25 25 Online Appetizers cm_FINAL.indd 25 4/2/09 1:27:44 PM