Baked sunset-tinted peaches

July 6, 2009 3:48:57 PM PDT
A perfect summer treat of baked sunset-tinted peaches filled with Amaretti.

PESCHE RIPIENE AL FORNO
Summer Sunset Peaches with Amaretti Filling

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 large, ripe yet firm, yellow freestone peaches
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons finely ground blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter plus more for baking dish
  • Dry white wine or Dry Marsala
  • Freshly whipped cream to garnish (optional)
Special equipment:
  • melon baller
  • 9-inch baking dish
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter a 9-inch baking dish and set aside.

  2. Rinse the peaches briefly under cold running water and pat dry. Using a sharp knife cut peaches in half lengthwise along the natural crease that runs from the stem dimple around the fruit. Gently separate the halves by twisting apart or using a small spoon to pry open. Remove and discard the pits.

  3. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out a 1-inch cavity from the center of each peach half, reserving the pulp and placing it on a cutting board. Finely chop the reserved peach pulp and place in a mixing bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of the sugar, ground almonds, 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and any peach juices that have accumulated on the cutting board. Mix well to combine.

  4. Fill the cavity of each peach half with 1-tablespoon of the almond filling in neat mound. Arrange the filled peaches, cut side up, in the buttered baking dish. Christen lightly with wine by dipping your fingertips in the wine and flicking them over the fruit. Sprinkle ½-teaspoon sugar evenly over each peach surface then drizzle with the remaining melted butter.

  5. Bake in the center of hot oven for 30 minutes until peach flesh is tender and surfaces golden. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with freshly whipped cream if desired.
Copyright, 2009, Deborah Dal Fovo, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

INSALATA DI FARRO GARFAGNESE
Summer Farro Salad with Tomatoes, Olives and Basil

Serves 6-8

Farro, similar to English Spelt, is a whole grain with a nutty, wheatlike flavor. It is a favorite in Tuscany where it is used like rice in soups, salads and breads. Farro grains are oval shaped with a groove running down the length, with a light brown colored exterior and a pale, floury interior that plumps when cooked. The best farro is grown in the hills of the Garfagnana above the medieval town of Lucca and widely used in all seasons.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups/200g farro, preferably the Tritticum Dicoccum variety from the Garfagnana area of Tuscany
  • 12-15 ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 15 black Mediterranean olives, pitted
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, wiped clean with damp towel
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Bring 5 cups of water to boil over high heat in a medium pot. While water is coming to a boil, prepare the farro. Pick through farro grains an eliminate any small pebbles, bad grains or bits of chaff and rinse thoroughly under cold, running water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.

  2. When water boils, add a handful of kosher salt. Add the farro and stir once. When the water returns to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook, uncovered, until farro is 'al dente' (tender yet firm to the bite) about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the farro well in a strainer and set aside to cool.

  3. While the farro is cooling, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. Cut into quarters or eighths and place in a large salad bowl. Lightly salt the tomatoes and toss in the bowl. Tear the basil leaves into pieces or chop into julienne and add to the tomatoes. Cut the onion into thin slices and the olives into quarters, adding both to the tomatoes. Add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to the bowl and combine all. When the farro is cool, add it to the dressed condiments and toss well. Taste for seasoning and correct if needed.

  4. Cover the bowl and let the salad stand for at least an hour to infuse flavors. Add more extra virgin olive oil if needed. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until one hour before serving time.
Copyright, 2008, Deborah Dal Fovo, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

About ITALIAN CHEF DEBORAH DAL FOVO
An accomplished Chef and authority on the fine art of Italian living, Deborah Dal Fovo mastered her culinary education in Italian food and wine hands-on from some of Italy's finest and most renowned chefs, winemakers and food producers. Her formal culinary studies include classic training at French Master Chef Roger Vergé's legendary cooking school in Mougins, France.

Deborah's love of food and cooking began at home in her Northern Italian-American household inspiring her to return to Italy where she lived in both Milan and Tuscany for 20 years while traveling extensively throughout Italy cultivating the country's diverse regional flavors and culinary traditions.

A dual citizen of Italy and the United States, Deborah now lives primarily in Northern California and shares her vast Italian experience with the U.S. as a Private Chef, Cooking Instructor, Italian Lifestyle expert and an enthusiastic Italian ambassador of good taste.

Deborah Dal Fovo currently teaches authentic Italian Cooking classes at Draegers, Ramekins, Relish, Sur la Table, and VIVA cooking schools and at her own private classes in San Francisco and Marin County.
Website: www.deborahdalfovo.com


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