AN ITALIAN EXPERIENCE - FOOD - Antipasti
I use the red speckled Borlotti beans for this, and they cook up like large brown beans. I'm sure other beans will work just as well.
Place the beans in a food processor, add the tomato sauce or juice, garlic, salt, juice from 1/2 lemon, and the sage leaves and blend until smooth.
While it is blending, add the olive oil in a stream, tasting until you have the right consistency. Add generous amounts of Tabasco until it is hot enough for your palate.
It may look like a lot, but disappears in a flash with a bowl of chips nearby.
Roasted Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
2. Place the bread into the liquid and flip it over so that it absorbs the solution until all liquid is absorbed.
3. Mix together garlic and olive oil and brush onto the boread.
4. Place bread onto a separate baking sheet, cover with cheese and back in 375°F oven for about 5-7 minutes. The bread will still be soft but the cheese will lightly brown.
5. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool down.
6. Cut the tomatoes in various shapes and distribute them on the bread. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil and a few leaves of ruggetta and serve.
FIGS, CARMELIZED WITH MARSCAPONE CHEESE
Late summer is the season for rich, ripe honey-sweet figs, and though you may be tempted to eat them directly off the tree, this is a pleasant, quick way to serve them up when friends stop by.
Select 8 ripe, blemish-free figs. Wash them, pat them dry, and make two perpendicular cuts half way into each fig from the stem end, as if you were going to quarter them. Put them on a cookie sheet covered with oiled paper.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of cane sugar over each fig and run them under a broiler for 2-3 minutes, to lightly caramelize the sugar. Arrange the figs on 4 plates, and continue the cuts almost all the way down to the base, so the figs open like flowers.
Beat 2/3 pound (300 g) mascarpone cheese (a soft, mild-flavored cream cheese will do) with about 1/2 cup (50 g) powdered sugar and 8 tablespoons Vin Santo (a sweet mild dessert wine). Spoon the cheese among the figs, and enjoy!