My mother has a beautiful book called Culinaria Italy, part cookbook, part culinary history. It's big and heavy and it contains so many recipes I would like to try. We flipped through it yesterday, looking for something to make for dinner that I'd never had before. There were so many options, so many beautiful pictures and recipes to be perused, that we spent longer looking at the book than expected, cutting into the time we thought we had to prepare dinner. So in the end, we went to the store and bought pizza fixings. For the crust we used a really lovely flatbread, and we made one margherita pizza and one with Italian sausage.
I love a good trip to the grocery store, especially when visiting California, where the selection of foods is often larger and nicely diverse. This time, while selecting a bunch of root-on basil (it keeps a lot longer than cut basil, when you keep the root end in a glass of water), we actually ran into the man who grows the stuff, a man from Archi's Acres, who was quite happy to see us purchasing his product. He told us about his program for hiring vets who suffer from PTSD, which seemed pretty appropriate considering it's Memorial Day weekend. He was a lovely, friendly man, and his basil is excellent.
Back home, we put the pizzas together, but since I'd obviously had pizza before (though not the type of flatbread we used for the crust... I should have written down the name and now the wrappers are out in the trash barrel), I had to have something else. For that purpose, we bought a bottle of prosecco and some white peaches. It was a simple recipe we found in Mom's Italian book: bellinis. For those of you who don't know, a bellini is a drink that originated at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy--one of the most famous restaurants I can think of. Unfortunately, I've never been there despite the fact that I have been to Venice. When I was there, I was nineteen, had no money, and had never heard of the place. I spent hours searching for a particular gelato shop the travel guide recommended, but it would never have occurred to me to look for a famous bar. Famous bar? I would have said. Ppppbbbbthhh. Ah, to be young.
Anyway, I've heard of Harry's Bar now, and I've always wanted to try a bellini, so I pureed some peaches. Unfortunately, I didn't read the recipe closely enough and I peeled them, which I wasn't supposed to do, which explains why my bellini (pictured above) is not particularly pink. I also don't think the peaches were in perfect condition, and I don't think I got my puree smooth enough. It was still tasty, though. I almost wish I'd just bought a can of Kern's peach nectar--that was the original plan, but they didn't have any at the store we visited and I didn't feel like going to another, plus I thought real peaches would make a better drink. Maybe they did. I don't know.
Next time I have a bellini, I will probably trust a bartender. Maybe the next time I have a bellini it will be at Harry's Bar in Venice. For those of you who would like to try it at home, here's the recipe:
Scant 1/4 cup ice cold puree of unpeeled white peaches
2/3 cup chilled prosecco
Place the puree in a chilled glass. Top with prosecco, stir quickly, serve immediately.