Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tortellini alla Prosciutto and Designated Brownies

“A heady mix of sherry, cream, mushrooms and prosciutto” is the caption for this recipe and, let me just tell you, it is every bit as seductive as it sounds! I have Emily McMullin to thank (or blame!) for recommending this dish the other night after the GMM (fabulous meeting by the way). I have not even cooked for a few days due to the surplus stashed in the fridge and, much to my dismay (delight), it has just gotten better and better with each passing day! But finally, inevitably, thankfully it is gone. While the Tortellini alla Prosciutto made a perfectly, decadent midweek meal it would be a fabulous dish for a dinner party: not too many ingredients, minimal prep time and I defy your guests not to love it. I chose a Côtes du Rhône to drink which is a red wine from the Rhone wine region in France. These wines are generally the everyday wines of the Rhone Valley which is know for such distinctive and noteworthy wines as Châteauneuf du Pape and Côte Rôtie. This particular wine received a 91 point rating and retails for around $20 a bottle – gotta love that!
For dessert I decided to make the Designated Brownies, so named, due to their high alcohol content. The recipe calls for bourbon AND rum. “You don’t need a designated driver after eating these spirited brownies; they just taste like you do!” is the caption but I am not entirely sure you could pass a breathalyzer after eating one – buckle your seatbelts!

The Dish:
Tortellini alla Prosciutto (pg. 205)
Designated Brownies (pg. 258)

The Drink:
2006 Jean-Louis Chave, Côtes du Rhône, Mon Coeur

As I mentioned before, the prep time for this dish is minimal - especially since you get to purchase pre-made, cheese-filled tortellini. Just be sure to get a high quality brand since it is really the star of the dish. Also, get a quality prosciutto such as Prosciutto di Parma and go with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. These items are very readily available and, again, with so few ingredients you really want them to shine. I used the cremini mushrooms, which are actually baby portobellos, because I love their color and I think they have better flavor than the white ones. I use a wet paper towel to wipe the dirt off of them rather than washing them and having them absorb any excess water. Also, I am usually a salt girl. I mean I would salt ice cream if I could but for some reason, in this dish, the pepper is key. And if you wanted to throw in some peas for color – I think they’d make a nice addition. The actual cook time is only about 15-20 minutes and you are left with a meal you will be happy to revisit for a few days - if you’re lucky! The wine also complemented the tortellini very nicely with its subtle fruit and notes of cocoa, fig and plum. It also really highlighted the pepper in the dish as well.
As for the brownies, I have to admit, I was loving them up until the addition of the bourbon. I was right there with it, mixing in the melted chocolate, sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips, sneaking a spoonful every chance I got but apparently I am not a bourbon fan. Otherwise, sans bourbon, I think I would have enjoyed them a lot more. They have a very intense, sweet, chocolate flavor and are definitely for the seriously chocolate-inclined. I loved the touch of drizzling the melted chocolate over the white icing – it really looked fantastic; however, you might want to slice them before you put them back in the fridge. Once the chocolate sets it can be difficult to cut without ruining your beautiful, chocolatey, drizzly design. And you don’t want THAT to happen! All in all it was a fabulous meal and now that it’s gone (sigh) back to the kitchen for me…..next up, birthday dinner for my sister, Jennifer – YAY!

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