Matzav Food: Your Italian Purim Seudah

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eggplant-crostiniBy Jamie Geller for Matzav.com

This year go all out for your Purim seudah.  Get into the spirit with music, table décor and costumes. Of course, spirits help you get into the spirit, so don’t skimp there either.

You can have a lot of fun with this one: play Italian themed music in the background, (Am I dating myself when I suggest “That’s amore”?) Make your home look like an authentic Italian restaurant with menu cards, checkered tablecloths, family style (not frilly) platters and serving pieces. To really add to the atmosphere, put down a few bottles of Cantina Gabriele’s Semi-Sweet Red wine: it comes in a cute rounded Italian bottle with straw covering the lower half, just like all the traditional wines from Tuscany. I get mine in Monsey at The Grapevine; you can probably find it in your local kosher wine store. And why not throw in Italian restaurant style bibs to protect your guests’ clothes or costumes while you’re at it?

But let’s get down to the serious stuff: the food. Italian food is not just pasta and pizza, and this is a festive meal, so here’s a delectable menu that is sure to please your crowd.

We’ll start off with Eggplant and Tomato Crostini – a great twist on the standard brushchetta style starter (although I adore that too). Eggplant is my new love – I just can’t get enough of it these days. Once you try this app, you will be hooked too!

Let’s follow that with Papardelle with White Beans and Olives. What are papardelle? They’re wide fettuccini noodles. This dish is enough for a meal on its own, but we’re eating Italian style, so there has to be even more food! Your star for the main is Pesto Roasted Chicken. Folks, the aroma of this roasting in the oven will hit your guests as they walk into the house and have their mouths watering till you bring it to the table. Serve it up with a side of Spicy Braised Broccoli Rabe; this perfect veggie compliments and balances all the fab flavors of this meal.

The grand finale, your sweet sensational finish: Affogato. I just love the way the word sounds. Don’t know what affogato is? It’s a coffee-based ice-creamy dessert. In other words, molto yummy.  Mange!

Eggplant and Tomato Crostini

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 6
  • Yield: 12 crostini
  • Kosher Designation: Pareve
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped eggplant, 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 cups chopped tomato, 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices baguette, toasted
  • 12 leaves fresh basil

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add eggplant and cook 7 to 10 minutes or until slightly softened. Add tomato and cook for 8 to10 minutes more or until tomatoes are broken down and eggplant is softened. Stir in balsamic and capers and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, salt and pepper.
  2. Spoon a few tablespoons of mixture onto each slice of toasted baguette and garnish each with a basil leaf.

Papardelle with White Beans and Olives

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 4
  • Yield: 4 cups
  • Kosher Designation: Pareve
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8-ounces parpadelle or thick pasta, cooked and drained, pasta water reserved
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 2 to 4 minutes or until translucent. Add tomatoes and sauté 4 minutes or until softened. Add beans, olives, tomato paste and 1/4 cup pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add pasta to pan, season with salt and pepper and toss to heat through. Transfer to serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil to serve.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Roasted Chicken

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
  • Serves: 4
  • Yield: 1 5 lb chicken
  • Kosher Designation: Meat
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 (5-pound) whole chicken

Preparation

  1. In a food processor, pulse basil, pine nuts, garlic, sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper a few times until coarsely chopped. With processor running, slowly add olive oil until combined.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Place chicken on a greased sheet pan or roasting pan. Completely cover with pesto, lifting skin on top of breast and rubbing underneath the skin as well. Loosely cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the breast reaches 165 F, about 1 hour.
  4. Carve into pieces and serve.

Spicy Braised Broccoli Rabe

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 4
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Kosher Designation: Pareve
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups broccoli rabe, trimmed and washed, or broccoli florets
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a medium sized skillet over medium high heat. Add broccoli rabe and sauté for 4 to 6 minutes or until wilted. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add balsamic and 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until very tender. Stir in red chili flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Affogato

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time:
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Serves: 4
  • Yield: about 3 cups
  • Kosher Designation: Pareve
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Ingredients

  • 1 pint vanilla soy ice cream
  • 1 cup warm strong brewed coffee or espresso

Preparation

  1. Divide soy ice cream between 4 shallow bowls. Pour 1/4 cup coffee or espresso into each bowl and serve immediately.

Jamie Geller is Chief Foodie Officer at Kosher.com and author of the newly released Quick & Kosher Meals in Minutes as well as Quick & Kosher: Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing.  For over 1,500 recipes and to watch Jamie’s Quick & Kosher cooking show. Visit her online at blog.kosher.com.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}

2 COMMENTS

  1. I was under the impression that Purim is a JEWISH holiday, to celebrate and acknowledge that Hashem saved the Jews from destruction.

    Have we gone so far with this “theme” business that we now have to get ideas from non-Jewish sources?

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