Recipes: Sassi’s Cucina Enoteca

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For its final installment of its Summer Food and Wine Series, Sassi in North Scottsdale hosts an Introduction to Cucina Enoteca on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Chef Nicosia will demonstrate Cucina Enoteca, or food of the wine repository, featuring small plates from the Wine Bar at Sassi including olives, fried cheese, marinated vegetables, stuffed paccheri and wines from Veneto. (The class is $49 and starts at 6 p.m.) To tempt your taste buds prior to the class, here are two of Nicosia’s Cucina Enoteca recipes.

Pan-Fried Sharp Provolone
4 1/2-inch-thick slices aged sharp provolone, 2 oz. each
1/2 C flour
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
4 T honey
1/2 C walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle cheese slices with water. Dredge cheese in flour and shake off excess. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add cheese and cook, undisturbed, until edges start to get brown and crisp. Turn cheese over and brown on other side. Transfer to a small cast iron serving dish. Place cheese in oven for about 3 minutes until center is soft and melted. Remove from oven, drizzle with honey, and top with toasted walnuts. Serve with crusty bread. Serves four.

Paccheri Stuffed with Crab
16 pieces paccheri pasta, cooked
1 lb. fresh dungeness crab meat
1/4 C red onion, small dice
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp. fresh tarragon
1 T fresno chile, chopped
1/2 C ricotta
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
Italian parsley, chopped
4 oz. arugula or other baby lettuce
1 heirloom tomato, diced
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine crab, red onion, lemon zest, tarragon, fresno chile, and ricotta. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe crab stuffing into cooked pasta. In a separate bowl, add lemon juice. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add parsley. In a mixing bowl, combine arugula and tomatoes. Lightly dress with lemon olive oil mixture. Divide among 4 plates. Place 4 stuffed paccheri on each plate, and drizzle with more lemon olive oil dressing and serve. Serves four.

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