Dinner Tonight Italian Style

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Roman Saltimbocca

Dinner tonight at Alessandra Rovati is always Italian.  This Venice-born Kosher Italian chef turns to simple, healthful, and authentic Italian fare when cooking for her family—including her Brooklyn-born husband, who loves it. The little ones (a four-and-a half-year-old son and three-year-old daughter) love to help, but you can imagine the mess they make.

My husband, who is an Ashkenazi from Brooklyn, still hasn’t come to terms with the fact that when I am feeling down, rather than opening a pint of ice cream, I head right for the anchovies. In his opinion, this must be a sign of some mysterious psychiatric disturbance. But Italians love anchovies, both plain on bread and butter, or as a secret ingredient to perk up a sauce or a vegetable side that came out a little "flat." You'll see what I mean after you try this very easy fish recipe!  Serve with Jewish Venetian Spinach.

Venetians—and Venetian Jews in particular—are world famous for their creamy risottos. I can make over a hundred varieties of this dish, which is my ultimate comfort food. This unusual combination of tart and creamy will be a very pleasant surprise, and full-fat ricotta is naturally very low in fat (go figure! 5% versus 90% in cream cheese), so go ahead—get seconds! You can serve this risotto Italian-style: as an appetizer to any fish dish, or as a main course with a green salad and a side of vegetables, such as, Green and Yellow Saute.

The traditional Roman recipe for Saltimbocca (literally “jump in your mouth”) uses bresaola, a type of “kosher prosciutto” made from a lean cut of beef cured in spices and salt and left to hang for a month. Until kosher bresaola or goose “prosciutto” becomes available in the States, you can replace it with good-quality Hungarian salami, very thinly sliced—but don’t tell any purists, especially Romans!  Serve with Italian Mashed Potatoes.

Some afternoons I spend so much time picking up after my 3- and 4- year-olds that I have no energy left for the kitchen. I’m not talking about cooking, I just cannot stomach the idea of having to clean up one more area. That’s when I resort to this recipe, which can be prepared in less than 5 minutes (plus cooking time) and will leave your counters absolutely spotless! Now how about a glass of wine?  Serve with Slow Baked Tomatoes.

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