Now that my around-the-world cooking journey has ended I get to country hop to my heart's delight, and I can't think of a country I'd like to explore more than Italy. Sitting on my kitchen counter is Italy The Beautiful Cookbook, by Lorenza De Medici. My Dad and his wife gave it to me in 2002 after I'd spent two hours at their house leafing through it, inspired and amazed by the recipes, but until now, hadn't had the time to delve deeply into the book's glossy pages and fascinating text. Divided up by region, as Italy's cuisine differs vastly depending on location, the book offers 250 full color pages of Italian meat, fish, salad, vegetable, rice, pasta and desserts recipes. Most striking is how every recipe is both simple and uses only the freshest, whole foods: olive oil, vegetables, lemons, parsley, garlic, seafood, meat, wine and pasta - everything made from scratch, yet easy and uncomplicated. The result is spectacularly beautiful, delicious food that takes no time at all to prepare and tastes as good as it looks. Nothing fussy, nothing pretentious. My favorite kind of eating.
Hereto-with, the first recipe - perfect for summer: Amaretti Stuffed Peaches from the Piedmont region (#1 on the map) of Italy. Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate desserts and pastry, almost more than I love my children, but fresh summer fruit and whipped cream is untoppable - I don't think that's a word, but you get what I mean. Ciao!
Amaretti bicuits are delicious alone, with coffee, ice cream or added to whipped cream
Beautiful summer peaches are in season now and make an easy, elegant dessert - Slice and add to the simple syrup to poach, then cool before fillingmmmm....whipped cream - I could never say no to you fat (said in a Homer Simpson voice)
Crush up the cookies - a rolling pin works too
Pesche Ripiene Agli Amaraetti - Recipe Adapted from Italy The Beautiful Cookook, by Lorenza De Medici
(Amaretti Stuffed Peaches)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sugar
6 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
12 amaretti biscuists, crushed
1 egg yolk, beaten
3 tablespoons heavy cream, whipped
Boil the wine and sugar on a low-medium flame for 5 minutes to form a simple syrup.
Poach the peach halves in the syrup for 5 more minutes, then lift out with a slotted spoon and let cool.
Fold the amaretti crumbs and egg yolk into the cream.
Fill the peach halves with the cream mixture.
Arrange on a serving platter and pour the remaining wine syrup around the peaches.
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