Just mention Benedetta Vitali's name in Florence food circles and everyone will agree that her food is terrific. Her new restaurant, Zibibbo, named after a Sicilian grape, serves a mixture of hard-to-find trattoria food as well as creative and personal interpretations of dishes from other parts of Italy. The night my husband and I were there we wanted to try everything on the menu. As we were waiting for our first appetizers to arrive, the server brought us a flute of delicious prosecco and these skewers of smoked, baked scamorza and pears. What a way to start a meal!
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Core, seed, and quarter the pears, then cut them into 1-inch pieces. Cut the scamorza into 1-inch cubes. Alternate 4 pieces of pear and 4 pieces of cheese on 4 wooden or metal skewers. (If using wooden ones, soak them in water first.) Place the skewers on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle the skewers with pepper and dried oregano, and drizzle with olive oil. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the cheese begins to melt, but before it turns runny or burns, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve at once.
Scamorza is a typical cow's-milk cheese of Southern Italy that can be eaten fresh or may be aged for a short time; it can also be smoked. This cheese typically has a flask shape; a fine outer rind, and a dense, solid body. It can be used for grating as a table cheese, or as an ingredient in many typical Southern Italian dishes. Scamorza can now be found in many Italian specialty food stores.
Favorite Recipes from the Splendid Cities
by Biba Caggiano
Hardback; 320 pages
$29.95 US, $39.95 CAN
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created October 2006
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