Monday, February 1, 2010

Italian Festa Part I

This past weekend we loaded up the kids and two pounds of fried meatballs for my mom's annual "Italian Festa." For the past few years she has gotten us all together to cook and eat Italian food all day long in honor of her mom's mom and dad (so my great grandparents), Maria and Antonio DiGregorio. Originally from Abruzzi in South Central Italy, Nana's mom and dad came over to Ellis Island to give my Nana, her sister Olga and her two brothers, Nino and Gino, a better life in America.

Here is the whole family and my dad holding up a picture of Mary and Tony:

Even though I was dead tired from a week of getting up early and braving the cold, and then some very long days with the kiddos while Kevin worked late, I knew there was no way I could truly enjoy Festa without a good long run in the morning! Its kind of like Italian Thanksgiving... you just have to fit in a workout in order to lay on your butt for the rest of the day and stuff your face and justify it. I was so happy to run with my two friends Meredith and Becca. They always keep the conversation flowing so it was easy to keep up a good clip for a nice 6+ mile run, all before the snow started falling.

Kevin wanted to get a workout in too so he went to the gym when I got home. By the time we finally got on the road around 11 the snow was COMING DOWN. I think I had one giant contraction the entire way to Winchester. I've never seen so many cars crashed on the side of the road before, and even worse I've never actually seen accidents HAPPEN right infront of my eyes. It is the most helpless feeling!! I prayed pretty much the entire way there that we would arrive safely, as well as every other car on the road, and thankfully we did.

The day was filled with food and family, my two favorite things. I especially love being silly with my sisters, because thats what sisters are for! Laura was responsible for making an app and she made these super tasty Spinach and Prosciutto Cups. They were pretty easy and I love that there was filling leftover, so it could be used in other recipes (stuffed in chicken breast, layered in a lasagna) for later in the week (she did double the recipe below though). I thought these might be something to try if you're going to a Superbowl Party this weekend and wanted to bring something different.

Spinach and Prosciutto Cups
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cups freshly grated parm cheese
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 small minced onion (I'd recommend a red onion)
1/4 tsp oregano
1 egg slightly beaten
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
12 thin slices prosciutto (fresh cut from the deli is best because it will be easier to fill the cups)
maybe some PAM
preheat oven to 375 degrees

Fill the cups with a thin layer of prosciutto, enough to cover the bottom and sides. Press it onto the sides so it forms a cup. If you aren't using a sweet baking sheet like this one, then make sure you spray some PAM first.
Cook and drain the spinach according to package directions, and then combine it in a bowl with parmesan, mushrooms, onion, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and egg.
Fill the cups about 2/3 full with ricotta mixture...
Sprinkle with a touch of extra parm...
Bake 20-25 minutes in a 375 degree oven and then remove from muffin tins. YUM!!
The chef holding her masterpiece (sideways) :)

More recipes to come!