A Taste of Italy

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a class at Johnson and Wales University.  I have taken several classes there in the past, but I was really excited about this one.  This one was titled “A Taste of Italy”.  Seeing as I love Italian food, I couldn’t wait!  Class started at 9 am and lasted until around 1 pm.  The best part is, you get to eat everything the class creates!  We made wonderful things like Polenta E Salsiccia (Creamy Polenta with Sausage) and Involtini Alla Arogosta (Veal Roulades with Eggplant Lobster and Crimini Mushrooms).  They were both so delicious, and I’m not one for veal. 

We learned how to make pasta (easier than I thought) and how to prepare squid (never doing that again).  But my very favorite recipe was/is Olive Fritte Gorgonzola (Fried Olives Stuffed with Pancetta and Blue Cheese).  I can’t wait to make these as an appetizer for the next party I attend.  Because you all know I won’t be throwing a bash in the rental house!

Olive Fritte Gorgonzola

8 strips pork bacon

1 oz. pancetta, diced

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 oz. Gorgonzola cheese (I’d use more)

1 pinch ground nutmeg

48 Giant Manzanilla olives, pitted and pimentos removed

2 cups flour

2 cups fine breadcrumbs

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

salt and pepper

2 quarts vegetable oil


Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.  Cook the bacon and pancetta in it until slightly crisp.  Add wine and let simmer until dry.  Let cool.  Place meat in a food processor.  Blend until slightly smooth.  Add cheese and nutmeg.  Blend until incorporated.  Put mixture into pastry bag and cut off tip (small hole!).  Pipe the meat and cheese mixture into the olives.  Place on a tray and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes (or more) prepare the breading station.  Put flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  Put eggs and milk in another shallow dish and beat lightly.  Place breadcrumbs in a third dish.  Dredge each olive in first the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs and place on a cooling rack.

In a heavy, large saucepan, heat the oil to 350 degrees.  Working in batches, deep fry the olives until golden (3-7 minutes).  Place on a cooling rack.  Serve after they are cool enough to touch.  Yummy!!!

Now the key is to make sure they freeze.  If they are not frozen before you fry the bacon and cheese mixture will overheat and melt out of the olives.  Then you’re just left with fried olives.  And where is the WOW in that?!


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