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FOOD GLORIA'S FOOD - February 2017 - Kansas City
Love Never Tasted So Good
By Gloria Gale
Cervasi, a brand of imported, artisanal Italian products is designed for the discerning otherwise known as picky cook.
At least that’s what chef Daniela Mancinelli Abel said recently while a group of us watched her batch up three recipes at the Kansas City Culinary Center.
With all the bells and whistles at her fingertips, Daniela deftly boiled, sautéed, rolled, crimped and tasted her demo fare for the day. On the menu: mushroom bruschetta, vodka sauced pasta and an apple crostata.
“Make sure you taste as you cook,” she said as we watched.
An important lesson for today was not just three recipes, but those all-important Cervasi ingredients. “That’s where I get picky. It’s all about quality ingredients,” said Daniela.
Using Cervasi’s entire line featuring olive oil, artichokes, cheeses, and of course, pastas in every shape imaginable, we listened to why these products would make the difference in our recipes.
Daniela explained. “The water, the flour….everything is so different in Italy, the food tastes different. But, since we’re obviously not there, using ingredients like Cervasi, that duplicate the flavor as closely as possible, we are well on our way.”
First up, the most time consuming recipe – an Apple Crostata, “Which sounds Spanish but actually it’s very southern Italian. And for those of us who don’t know the south from the north, it really doesn’t matter,” she added.
Daniela first made a savory pastry and then filled it with apples, dates, flour, sugar, and honey. While this baked, and smelled so delicious, we anticipated a delightful dessert at the end of our sampling.
Tiny rounds of crostini laden with sautéed mushroom and heavenly extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar came next. Even I could handle making this easy appetizer.
And here’s where the healthy comes in.
As you probably already know, the Mediterranean diet is the food plan considered the healthiest by just about every nutritionist worth their salt but no sugar.
Cervasi’s extra virgin olive oil is authentic, meeting the International Olive Council specifications and made from the first cold pressing of top quality hand-selected Italian olives. The result is a pure, flavorful taste and aroma. This is a good thing. Good fat; good for a healthy heart.
As we finished the crostini, Daniela prepped for the final dish – Vodka Cream Sauce with Parmigiana Reggiano and Cut Fusilli.
Adding the pasta to a boiling pot of water, we watched Daniela make the vodka cream sauce. Garlic, olive oil, whole tomatoes, cheese, basil, Italian parsley, and heavy cream blended into a wonderfully rich pink sauce when poured over the fusilli, was a joy in my mouth.
We finished the tasting with the crostata – every bit as good as we imagined and left with this positive phrase: Buon cibo, aria fresca, bella gente. In other words, what we should aspire to is good food, fresh air and nice people.
1 loaf Crusty bread
½ c Cervasi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pint mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Cervasi Balsamic Vinegar
Slice bread into ½ -inch rounds. Arrange on baking sheet and brush evenly with ½ c oile oil.
Bake 500 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Reduce temp to 450 degrees. In medium bowl combine mushrooms, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Stir. In medium baking dish arrange mushroom mixture so it’s spread out. Place in oven for 5 minutes. Spoon mushroom mix over toast. Serve warm or room temperature.
Kansas City writer, producer, and photostylist Gloria Gale is a sleuth when it comes to discovering interesting features for the media.
As a native she's compiled a burgeoning collection of editorial features on food, travel and lifestyle for national and local magazines, books, individuals, and corporate clients.
Most recently, Gloria profiled area restaurants as a columnist for 435 Magazine and was one of KCUR's Food Critics radio program.
Want to know where to find the best tastes in town? Contact Gloria: firstname.lastname@example.org