I’ve been on a bit of an Italian kick lately (ravioli, to give just one example). Paging through my various Italian cookbooks I have found it impossible to choose. Ooh, I’d love to try Tuscan beans, I tell myself, but what about some pasta? Polenta’d be nice, I nudge, but maybe I’d rather try my hand at pancetta? So I said screw it, I’ll just make it all. Unfortunately, preparing loads of Italian food for two adults doesn’t make much sense, so I invited some friends over. We’ll have ten for dinner Sunday night.
Then, being the glutton for punishment that I am, I challenged, “What if you tried to source as much of it as possible from Missouri?” After all, southern Missouri marks the northernmost reach of the humid subtropical climate classification (“hot, humid summers and chilly to mild winters” sound familiar?), which includes most of northern inland Italy like Parma and Milan. We’re not that far off. I’d see what I could do.
So we’ll have ten people over for a semi-traditional Italian meal, with most of the ingredients coming from Missouri. Here’s the menu as it stands right now. It could change based on availability of some ingredients come Saturday or Sunday, but I have most of them reserved. Here goes, with asterisks by the totally or mostly-local items.
Mixed marinated olives
Bruschetta* with black kale*
Beets and arugula*
White beans with olive oil, shaved fennel and parmigiano
Eggs* with parsley sauce*
Stuffed piquante peppers
Pickled Missouri Black Walnuts*
Chestnut* and mushroom* ravioli* with olive oil, pine nuts and homemade pancetta*
Pork chops* and polenta*
Shredded Napa cabbage* with Missouri Northern Pecans*