Cheese, cheese, glorious cheese! That is the only way to describe White Gold Cheese. Once you try the cheese they produce you will be addicted to their line up, freshly made in Alberta. Frank Fiorini and Paolo Campanella grew up in Bojano, Italy, immigrated to Calgary and now produce only the finest quality fresh and aged Italian cheeses. All their cheeses are pure, fresh and have the distinct flavor of Italy. For more information on White Gold Cheese go to http://www.fiordilatte.ca It has been a year or more since I had the pleasure of engaging with my cookbook production team to style and shoot the amazing photographs that are in my cookbook, “Soulful Helpings”. We are always in touch with each other, but a recent video production was the first time we were all back together in the kitchen together making magic. The setting was perfect, as our theme for the day was cooking with authentic Italian cheese and with the sunlight warming the kitchen and streaming onto the rustic wooden table. We could have been in the Italian countryside. We all fell into our usual roles easily, me chopping and cooking, Perry and Shelbi clicking and panning with the camera, while Nancy created the perfect presentation of culinary art. The afternoon had an authentic Italian feel, as Italians love their kitchens. It is where family and friends gather to share their everyday life experiences. Food is not just a means of nourishment but an expression of love that feeds the body and the soul. Even though we were all doing a job, it was a joyous and happy time spent laughing, telling stories and enjoying each other’s company. Then we got to savor the food that was simply prepared using only the highest quality ingredients. Nancy expressed to me that there are only a few basic rules that a true Italian cook abides by: never overcook the pasta, and that, typically, the better the ingredients are the less you do to them. Look into getting some of White Gold’s finest Italian cheeses and create your own Italian memories The recipes that we used for our afternoon of Italian cooking are set forth below.
Red Chard with Ricotta and Orecchiette Pasta
2 to 3 tsp. salt
¾ pound dried orecchiette pasta
2 ounces olive oil
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 medium shallot finely chopped
1 large bunch of red Swiss chard
8 ounces of thick cut prosciutto diced into small pieces
1 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes sliced in half
½ cup black olives sliced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 tsp. ground sea salt
½ cup fresh ricotta cheese (White Gold Cheese)
½ cup Caciocavallo firm cheese grated (White Gold Cheese)
Separate the red chard leaves from the stems then chopped both into small bite size pieces. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 10-12 minutes until al dente.
While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat add the garlic and shallots and sauté until fragrant. Add the prosciutto, cherry tomatoes and black olives then season with the red pepper flakes, cracked black pepper and ground sea salt. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes stirring until chard stems are tender crisp.
Drain the pasta, reserving ¾ of a cup of the cooking liquid. Ladle the cooking liquid into the skillet with the chard stems, start with ½ cup of the liquid and check to see if you need more as you continue cooking the pan sauce. Lay the cut up red chard leaves in the skillet on top of the stem mixture cover with a lid and cook until the chard leaves are wilted. At this point you can check the constituency of the pan sauce and decide if you need any more cooking liquid. It should be moist but not too wet.
Pour the chard mixture into a large serving bowl, add the drained pasta and toss to coat the pasta. Add the ricotta and toss again. Sprinkle with the grated caciocavallo and serve
Bocconcini Cocktail Bites
24 fresh small bocconcini -drained
½ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. black pepper
24 small fresh basil leaves
12 pitted black olives- flattened and cut in half
4 tbsp. olive oil- herb infused if not a good quality olive oil
24 small wooden cocktail spears
In a small bowl combine all spices and set aside. Cut a small edge off the end of each bocconcini so it will sit up on the serving platter. Dip the un-cut edge of the bocconcini in the spices, then spear a piece of your fresh basil, follow with a piece of the black olive. Insert into the middle of your spice dipped bocconcini and plate on your serving platter. Drizzle the olive oil onto each wooden spear so the olive oil flows onto the bocconcini.
White Gold Caciocavallo Crostini with wilted Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes
1 small baguette sliced into ¼ inch pieces (should have at least 12 slices)
½ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
Ground pepper and coarse salt
Preheat oven to 350°F
Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet; brush both sides with the olive oil; brush with the crushed garlic; season lightly with the pepper and salt. Bake until golden turning the baguette slices once. Set the crostini on a serving plate.
12 thin slices White Gold Caciocavallo cheese
1 red pepper (roasted in oven or over flame on gas burners] sliced into thin strips
12 thin slices of prosciutto
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup red or yellow cherry tomatoes cut in half
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
Place the slices of cheese on top of the crostini; follow with strips of red pepper placed horizontally; top with slices of the prosciutto.
Place the olive oil in a medium sized skillet and heat over medium heat; add the cherry tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute; add the baby arugula and cook just until wilted. Top each crostini with a portion of the wilted arugula and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.