Paired with a Pale Ale (for dinner) and a Porter (for dessert)
Happy Wednesday, everyone! Let’s celebrate the week being halfway over by talking about pasta and seafood and cakes, oh my!
So, I don’t know how many of you know this, but I come from an Italian family. I know, right? The blonde hair and blue eyes and fair skin totally threw you off didn’t it? I know, sometimes I don’t even know, but here we are and yes, I come from an Italian family.
It’s a tradition in my family to celebrate the holidays with the feast of the seven fishes, which is a tradition of many Italian families. It’s normally celebrated on Christmas Eve, and you guessed it…seven fishes are involved. It doesn’t matter how they are involved. At least in my family it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be seven separate dishes (even though many other Italian families would disagree), but seven fishes have to be incorporated in some way.
Enter this recipe for Sea Scallop and Shrimp Scampi with Spinach Tagliatelle…
Now many of you guys know that I live in Wyoming. We don’t have a huge amount of fresh seafood. We do have some great fresh water fish in the rivers and lakes and there is some seafood that we get that’s decent. Shrimp is easy to find. Sea scallops are a close second. Halibut is probably the freshest fish that we get. That normally gets overnighted, but the pickins are slim, so we have to get creative!
When I was asked to do a post featuring Colavita and Perugina, I jumped at the chance. These are two products that I adore and are the perfect way to enhance those holiday dinners in both sweet and savory forms!
This post is a little bit different than the rest. Today, I’m sharing two recipes…one that’s savory (the main course course) and one that’s sweet (the dessert course). Both recipes celebrate the Italian culture.
This recipe for sea scallop and shrimp scampi with spinach tagliatelle celebrates seafood, perfectly al dente Colavita pasta and Colavita olive oils. It is the perfect main course meal for your Christmas Eve dinner!
Now the recipe for these Mascarpone and Pear Cakes is the second best part about this post today!
These cakes are my favorite part about the holidays, you guys. They have the perfect creamy and sweet mascarpone filling, sandwiched between two crisp pastries. Drizzled with a blend of Perugina chocolates, these cakes are the perfect way to end the perfect Italian dinner.
Recipe for both of these dishes is below! Add them to your holiday menu spreads or just make them tomorrow! ;)
Makes about 8-10 cakes. This amount will vary depending on the size of the cookie cutter you use. I used a 2-inch cookie cutter.
Prep Time reflects inactive time.
- 2 large Bartlett Pears, cored, peeled and diced
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons orange liquor
- 2 cups mascarpone cheese
- ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 packet gelatin
- 1 ¼ cups almond meal
- ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 5 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 3.5 ounce Perugina Bittersweet Chocolate Bar (70% Cacao), broken up
- 1 3.5 ounce Perugina Dark Chocolate, Limoncello, broken up
- In a large non-stick skillet, combine the pears, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the pears are tender and caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in the orange liquor. Drain the pears and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, fold the mascarpone cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract together. Set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, with whisk attachment fixed, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Bring the water to a boil and then stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Add the gelatin mixture to the mascarpone mixture and fold together, then fold in the whipped cream. Fold in the pears until evenly dispersed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- While the filling is chilling, prepare the crusts. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal and confectioner’s sugar. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, with whisk attachment fixed, whip the egg whites with the kosher salt, until soft peaks form. At this point, very slowly add the granulated sugar to the egg whites until all of it is added. Continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the almond meal mixture.
- Divide the mixture between the two baking sheets and spread it out with an offset spatula to about ½ - ¼ inch in thickness. Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. The crusts should be “meringue-like” and slightly golden. While the crust is still warm, cut rounds out of the crust using a 2-inch cookie cutter and then transfer the rounds to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Assemble your mascarpone and pear cakes by dolloping a healthy amount of mascarpone filling onto the top of half of the almond crust rounds. Place the remaining half on top. Place the cakes in the fridge to chill while you prepare your chocolate drizzle.
- In a small bowl, add both the Perugina Bittersweet Chocolate Bar and the Perugina Dark Chocolate, Limoncello. Place the bowl in the microwave and melt for 1 minute. After 1 minute, give the chocolate a stir and then continue melting in 30-second increments (stirring after each) until all of the chocolate has melted.
- Dust your mascarpone and pear cakes with additional confectioner’s sugar and drizzle with the bittersweet chocolate limoncello drizzle. Enjoy!