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Set the stage for simple summer entertaining

Posted: June 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Apple zeppole with cinnamon whipped cream

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Long summer evenings present a perfect opportunity to celebrate good wine, good food and the good company of family and friends. What better way to create a beautiful evening than to host a fun gathering with easy-to-share fare, delicious wine pairings and a great movie?

When it comes to movie night entertaining, Emmy award-winning chef and cookbook author Giada De Laurentiis recommends serving sharable nibbles and setting the scene with inspired wine pairings.

Planning a get-together soon? Try one of these entertaining-ready recipes, complete with Bella Sera® wine pairings, for further inspiration. For more movie night recipe ideas from Giada, and wine pairing tips, visit www.bellaserawine.com.

Apple zeppole with cinnamon whipped cream
“I love Bella Sera’s Moscato — it’s slightly sweet and has a hint of peach. It’s great as is or with dessert.”
— celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis
Yield: 4 servings
    1     large apple, peeled and grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/4     cup sugar
    1     stick butter
    1/4     teaspoon salt
    1/2     cup water
    1     cup flour
    4     eggs
    1     cup whipping cream
    2     tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
    1     teaspoon cinnamon
        Olive oil for frying

In medium saucepan, combine butter, salt, sugar and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take pan off heat and stir in flour. Return pan to medium heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about three to five minutes. Transfer flour mixture to a medium bowl.

Using an electric hand mixer on low speed, add eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. Beat until smooth. Add grated apple and stir to combine. If not frying immediately, cover with plastic wrap and reserve in refrigerator.

Combine whipping cream, 2 table­spoons confectioners’ sugar and cin­na­mon in medium bowl. Whip until medium soft peaks form. Trans­fer whipping cream to serving dish.

Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of two inches.

Heat oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325°F.

Using a small ice-cream scooper or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a rounded tablespoon of dough into hot olive oil.
Turn zeppole once or twice, and cook until golden and puffed up, about 4 minutes. Fry zeppole in batches so as not to overcrowd pan. Drain on paper towels.

Transfer zeppole to a serving dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar using a small sieve. Serve with cinnamon whipped cream alongside for dipping.

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis as seen on “Everyday Italian” in episode “Apres Ski.”

Piadina with fontina and prosciutto
“Bella Sera Pinot Grigio is light-bodied, refreshing and has a hint of citrus — it’s the perfect complement to lighter recipes on a warm summer day.” — celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
    3 1/2     cups all-purpose flour, plusmore for dusting
    1/2     teaspoon baking soda
        Fine sea salt
    1/2     cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
    2     tablespoons olive oil
    1     15-ounce container (2 cups) whole milk ricotta cheese
    2     teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)
        Freshly ground black pepper
    3     cups (6 ounces) grated Fontina cheese
    4     ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
    1     cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Combine flour, baking soda and one teaspoon salt in bowl of an upright mixer fitted with dough hook attachment. Add butter and mix on low speed until incorporated, about two minutes.

With machine running, slowly add up to 2/3 cup water, until mixture forms a dough around hook.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead five minutes, or until smooth.

Cut dough into four equal pieces.

Form into disk shapes and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat gas or charcoal grill.

On lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into an eight- to 10-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Brush each circle with olive oil.

Grill for four minutes on each side. Remove piadini from the grill and let cool slightly.

Combine ricotta cheese and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread each piadina with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture.

Sprinkle with Fontina cheese evenly over ricotta cheese. Arrange prosciutto slices on top of cheeses.

Cut each piadina into eight wedges and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with chopped basil.

Reprinted from “Giada At Home” by Giada De Laurentiis. Copyright © 2010. Published by Clarkson Potter/Random House, Inc.

Skewered Greek salad
Pair with Bella Sera Pinot Grigio
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Skewers:
    24     grape or small cherry tomatoes
    3     ounces firm feta cheese (see Cook’s Note), cut into 12 (1/2-inch) cubes
    12     pitted kalamata olives
    1/2     small red onion, cut into 12 (1/2-inch) pieces
Vinaigrette:
    2     teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    2     teaspoons red wine vinegar
    4     teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
    2     tablespoons olive oil
        Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment:
    12     6-inch bamboo or wooden skewers

For skewers: Thread skewers starting with a tomato, then a cube of feta cheese, an olive, a piece of onion and finally, another tomato. Repeat with remaining ingredients and skewers.

For vinaigrette: In small bowl, mix together lemon juice, red wine vinegar and half of the oregano.

Whisk in olive oil until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange skewers on a serving platter. Spoon vinaigrette over skewers and sprinkle with remaining oregano.

Cook’s note: Buy feta packed in water; it is moist and easier to skewer and it won’t crumble.

Reprinted from “Giada At Home” by Giada De Laurentiis. Copyright © 2010. Published by Clarkson Potter/Random House, Inc.

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