A Noble Banquet
Ever been served a plate of pasta prepared by a prince? Yeah, we haven’t either. This can be easily fixed with a trip to La Giostra, where the chef/owner, Dimitri d'Asburgo Lorena, is a Habsburg prince. The kitchen and dining room is filled with other Habsburg royalty willing to – get this – tend to your every need.
Not only does this Florence institution provide a certain regal tone, the classic Italian menu is filled with delicious fresh pastas, braised meats and all the truffle-laced dishes you could imagine. It was an easy decision here at Cooling Your Jets to feature a menu inspired by La Giostra’s lavish spread. As far as the royal service? You’re on your own.
Of all the carpaccios on La Giostra’s menu, the swordfish is the most luxuriant. Our version is marinated in lemon and served atop peppery arugula.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
To prepare the fish, use a very sharp fillet knife and cut the swordfish into paper-thin slices. If you aren’t comfortable with your knife skills, ask your fishmonger to prepare it for you.
Place the slices into a deep baking dish and cover with lemon juice. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove from dish and pat dry. In a large bowl, mix olive oil, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Place the fillets in the oil mixture and coat thoroughly.
Line the bottom of a large serving platter with the arugula and dress lightly with a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Remove the fillets from the oil mixture, allowing the excess oil to drain back into the bowl, and arrange on top of arugula.
Truffles have a substantial presence on La Giostra’s menu – and for good reason. The rare mushroom gives any dish an elegant touch. When using truffles, however, it’s best to keep the ingredient list minimal, allowing the distinct earthy flavor to shine through.
In a large stock pot, bring water to a boil and add a generous amount of salt. Add the pappardelle and cook according to the directions on the package.
While the pasta is cooking you can make the sauce. Add olive oil and cream to a large sauté pan and cook on low heat until it begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Add the shaved truffles and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
When the pasta is al dente (has a slight bite to it) add it directly to the truffle sauce. Stir to coat evenly. Season with pepper and serve with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Steak Florentine is a Tuscan favorite and with such a simple preparation using the best quality meat is vital.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Season each side of the steak generously with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove the meat from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before grilling. Bringing the meat to room temperature will yield a juicier steak.
Heat a charcoal grill or grill pan to medium high. Grill the steaks to medium-rare (7 minutes per side) only turning once. Remove from grill and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute. Carve the meat from the bone and slice into 1-inch pieces. Arrange on a platter next to the Parmesan-roasted Asparagus (recipe below) and squeeze the lemon juice directly over the steaks. Serve immediately.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
To prepare the asparagus, take one stalk and gently bend it in half to see where it breaks naturally. This will guide you when chopping the thick bottoms off the remaining stalks. Place the stalks on a large sheet pan and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Return to over for 1 minute or until cheese just begins to melt. Serve with lemon wedges alongside Steak Florentine.
What better way to end a classic Italian meal then with this famous dessert. The best part? You don’t need to turn on the oven.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Cook Time: 6 hours
In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until it becomes lemon-yellow and thickens. Fold in the mascarpone and beat until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix well.
In a baking dish mix 1 cup of espresso with the rum. Dip each ladyfinger into the espresso for only a few seconds and place in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Repeat until the bottom of the dish is full. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top of the ladyfingers Arrange another layer of the soaked ladyfinger and top with the remaining mascarpone mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours. Serve with a dusting of cocoa powder.
This simple preface to the vast world of truffles will surely enhance your child’s palate. Truffle butter works great on pasta, toast, or even popcorn.
Yields 1 pound
In a mixing bowl combine butter and truffle oil. Start with a small amount (1/2 teaspoon) as it can be very strong. Add more as needed. Season to taste with salt. Spoon the butter on a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.