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Easy Five Ingredient Recipes for Your Holiday Buffet
By Mary Ann Esposito,
Author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen

You know how it is at holiday time . . . you are constantly making trips to the supermarket and lugging home bag after bag of groceries because your holiday recipes call for so many ingredients, some of which you use only at this time of the year. Let me help you, please!

How about creating a holiday spread with some clever recipes that only use five ingredients? Sound too good to be true? Not if you have a copy of Ciao Italia: Five Ingredient Favorites from an Italian Kitchen. Not only are the recipes uncomplicated, they will get you out of the kitchen fast and most can be made a day or two, or several hours ahead of time.

To show you what I mean, here is a sample party menu for a buffet; all the recipes use only five ingredients. And you can double or triple the recipes to serve more. Fill in with good store bought rolls, a few wedges of your favorite cheeses, some olives and wine and let the party begin! Of course there are many more recipes to choose from.
Prosciutto di Parma, Fontina and Fig Wraps, are quick, healthy and delicious and the best part is there is no cooking involved. Use dried figs in place of fresh. Make these an hour ahead and refrigerate until serving time.

Farfalle with Gorgonzola Sauce; make this delicious bow tie pasta dish one hour ahead and transfer it to a casserole dish. Keep covered and warm in the oven. Place the casserole on a warming tray when ready to serve.

Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs (recipe follows article). Form the meatballs a day ahead; refrigerate them, then bake an hour before serving. Place in a serving dish on a warming tray.

or

Pork Loin in Barolo Wine; which tastes even better if made 2 days ahead of time and pre-sliced. Reheat just before serving.

Potato Casserole
can be made an hour ahead and pairs beautifully with either the meatballs or the pork loin.

Fennel, Carrot and Apple Salad.

Gelato Pie can be made a week ahead, well wrapped and frozen.

Polpettoni al Formaggio
Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs

  • ½ cup good-quality dried bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • ½ pound ground chuck
  • ½ pound ground sirloin
    1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
    Coarsely ground black pepper
  • ½ pound Italian fontina or mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 small pieces
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Put the bread crumbs in a medium bowl and pour the cream over them. Mix with a fork; the mixture will not be soupy.

    Add the ground chuck, sirloin, and salt and pepper. Mix with a fork or your hands just to combine the ingredients. Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces and roll each in the palms of your hands to make compact 2½-inch balls.

    Insert your thumb into the middle of each meatball and push in a piece of cheese. Close the meatball, encasing the cheese, and smooth the top.

    Place the meatballs on a rimmed, nonstick baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are nicely browned. Serve hot as is, or add them to a tomato sauce and serve them with pasta or as a second course.

    Makes 8 meatballs

    The above is an excerpt from the book Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen by Mary Ann Esposito. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

    Copyright © 2009 Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen

    ©2009 Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen

    Author Bio
    Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen, is the creator and host of the long-running PBS series Ciao Italia, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010. She is the author of eleven successful cookbooks, including Ciao Italia Slow and Easy and Ciao Italia Pronto! She lives in Durham, New Hampshire.

    For more information, please visit www.CiaoItalia.com.