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Food & Travel Expert Aida Mollenkamp Shares Her
Best Recipes for a Taste of Positano

Through her totally Pinterest-worthy website Salt & Wind, not only does Aida Mollenkamp take you on glamorous adventures, she also shows you how to bring the world’s flavors home to your kitchen. And while creating this week’s guide to two perfect days in Positano, the Food Expert and Author also divulged her favorite recipes for a delicious Amalfi-inspired dinner. It’s high summer and even if you’re not in Italy, hopefully you’ve got some heirloom tomatoes standing by. If not, you can also cool down and pep-up with Aida’s take on an icy Caffe Shakerato, or whip up a batch of her Limoncello Popsicles for a day at the pool.

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Aperol
Spritz


“One of our favorite drinks at aperitivo is the Spritz. It’s a cocktail served throughout the Northeast part of Italy, with a variation in almost every town from Verona to Venice. It’s a low-octane cocktail (aka low alcohol) so it makes happy hour enjoyable without overdoing it.”

— Aida
Serves 1
Ingredients:
3 ounces chilled Prosecco
2 ounces Aperol
Ice
1 splash sparkling water
1 medium orange sliced for garnish

Directions:
Add a few ice cubes to a wine glass, put in the Prosecco or sparkling wine, the Aperol then top with an orange
slice and a splash of soda and serve.
 

Caffe
Shakerato


“There are a few things you should know about the Italian drink, Caffe Shakerato: first, it’s pronounced ‘shake’ with a ‘-rate’ then an ‘o’ at the end. (You know, it’s one of those bastardizations of an English word that makes for an awesome word in a foreign language.) Oh, and it’s a drink that sort of shows up out of nowhere once the weather gets warm. You’ll be in a cafe and all of a sudden cold coffee starts showing up in Martini (sometimes wine or champagne) glasses as if they hibernate at anything less than 80°F.”

— Aida
Serves 1
Ingredients:
2 shots freshly brewed espresso
Ice
1 teaspoon unrefined cane sugar

Directions:
Fill a wine glass halfway with ice and water and set aside to chill while you make the shakerato. Meanwhile, in the base of a cocktail shaker, mix together espresso and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
Fill shaker with ice, close, and shake seriously hard until shaker is frosted and mixture has created a sort of espresso foam, about 20 seconds. Strain into the chilled wine glass and serve.
 

Classic
Caprese Salad


“We wait all year for it: that moment when the tomatoes are so amazing, we wouldn’t think about eating anything else. And that’s when we can’t stop, won’t stop with classic tomato dishes like this Caprese Salad.”

— Aida
Serves 2-4
Ingredients:
2 heirloom tomatoes sliced
2 handfuls datterini or sweet 100s tomatoes or cherry tomatoes halved
8 ounces bocconcini mozzarella cheese
fresh basil leaves
assorted olives for garnish
extra-virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt or other flaky sea salt, for garnish

Directions:
Arrange tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, and basil on a serving dish.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and serve. 
 

Heirloom TomatO
Pasta Alla Checca
With Burrata


“There is nothing that transports me to Italy faster than a really well done pasta alla checca. At its most simple, it’s just marinated tomatoes tossed with fresh pasta but so often it’s flavorless. The key is only making it when you have ah-mazing tomtatoes, letting the tomatoes really, really marinate, and taking it over the top with some super fresh cheese, like a really awesome burrata cheese.”

— Aida
Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
3 pounds medium dice heirloom tomatoes juice reserved
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
15 large fresh basil leaves
1 pound pasta such as rigatoni, campanelle, conchiglie, or orrecchiette
2 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley leaves finely chopped
12 ounces fresh burrata cheese cut into 4 to 6 pieces

Directions:
Combine the diced tomatoes, tomato juice, oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if you don’t like spicy and up to 3 teaspoons if you do) in a large nonreactive bowl. Stir gently to coat well, and let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.

When the tomatoes are ready, tear the basil leaves into bite-sized pieces and stir into the tomato mixture. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook according to the package directions.

(If the tomatoes have not let off a lot of juice, reserve 1/2 cup / 120 ml of the pasta cooking water before draining.)

Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta cooking water (as needed) and parsley and stir to mix. Add the tomato mixture, and stir to combine. (If using mozzarella, stir it in here.) Taste and season with salt and additional pepper flakes, as desired.

Divide the pasta into individual bowls, top each with some of the burrata cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt, and serve.

 

Limoncello
Creamsicle Popsicles


“Since the weather lately has been 95°F+, I’ve sought refreshment of any and every kind and, at night, I’ve been longing for a limoncello popsicle that’d allow me to cool down while still having an after-dinner treat. So, I decided to combine two cultures of summer refreshment and marry the age-old American ice cream truck creamsicle with a good dose of Limoncello for these very adult Limoncello Creamsicle Popsicles.”

— Aida
Serves 6
Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup unrefined cane sugar
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup good-quality Limoncello
1 ½ tablespoons loosely packed lemon zest from about 2 lemons
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 2 lemons

Directions:
Whisk together heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in limoncello, lemon juice, and zest and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until thoroughly set, about 10 to 24 hours.
 

Amalfi
Pear Ricotta Tart


“When I came across this Amalfi Pear Ricotta Hazelnut Cake that Emiko Davies shared, I had to try it. It’s inspired by a recipe of Sal De Riso—a celebrity pastry chef from the region and my family now requests it for special occasions. I’ve found it’s super adaptable—I like it frozen rather than refrigerated and I switch the fruit (from pears to berries) based on the season.”

— Aida
Serves 6-8
Ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar divided
3 large eggs room temperature
7 ounces whole hazelnuts blended and sifted (or use hazelnut or almond meal)
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter melted and cooled, plus more room temperature butter for lining the cake pan
drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
2 small ripe Forelle or Seckel pears cored and small dice
1 vanilla bean cut in half and seeds scraped 
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Splash pear Williams brandy or Spiced Pear Brandy or Kirsch (optional)
½ teaspoon cornstarch
1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
½ cup chilled heavy cream
powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:
For the hazelnut sponge: Heat an oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 7-inch cake pan with butter, line with a circle of parchment paper, top with more butter, dust with flour then tap out any excess flour. Combine 2/3 cup of the sugar and all eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until the mixture becomes very pale and fluffy and triples in size, about 5 minutes. Fold in the hazelnut meal, flour, and butter until just incorporated.

Pour the mixture the prepared cake pan and bake until browned and springy on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. 

TIP
Hazelnut sponge can be made 2 days in advance. Store at room temperature, unsliced and wrapped in plastic.

For the filling: Meanwhile, drizzle a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a small frying pan and warm over medium heat. Add the diced pear, 1/3 cup of the sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and liqueur, if using. Stir occasionally until the pears begin to cook and release liquid and soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.

Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and cool completely.

Whip the ricotta and remaining 1 cup of the granulated sugar together until very smooth and creamy. Fold in the whipped cream and then the cooled pears, along with some of their syrup. Save a couple of tablespoons of syrup to drizzle on the top and bottom layers of cake.

To assemble: Line the same cake pan you used to bake the cake with parchment paper (or use a 7-inch springform pan if you have it). Slice the hazelnut sponge horizontally so you have two discs. (Be gentle: It is a bit of crumbly cake). Place the bottom half in the cake pan, cut side up. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of pear syrup evenly over the cake then spoon over the ricotta mixture and smooth over with a spatula. Drizzle the rest of the reserved pear syrup over the cut side of the top layer of sponge and carefully place it on top of the ricotta filling, cut side down. 

You can chill the cake for several hours in the fridge but I prefer to freeze it so that it’s almost like an ice cream cake. Remove the cake from the pan, dust with powdered sugar, then cut carefully into slices with a sharp knife and serve

 

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For more globally-inspired recipes from Aida Mollenkamp, visit: Salt & Wind.

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