Romance Your Valentine with an Italian Feast at Fabbrica for Two

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and while jewelry and roses are optional, a romantic delicious meal that she doesn’t have to prepare is pretty much a non-negotiable. And no, delivery pizza doesn’t count.

When I think of an intimate Valentines Day meal, I immediately think of Italian fare, like the rustic authentic menu at McEwan’s Fabbrica at the Shops at Don Mills.

Shareable pizzas, sensual pastas, decadent desserts, an extensive wine list, and a warm luxurious dining atmosphere all help makes Fabbrica the ideal spot for a romantic dinner for two. Resolving to eat lighter and healthier in 2015? No problem! They make a huge effort to help you dine well despite having dietary restrictions, so even gluten-free couples won’t miss out on the romance of an Italian spread. Check out some of these signature plates from Fabbrica’s top chefs that are guaranteed to win you some serious brownie points with your love!

 

This Valentine’s Day, skip the crusty box of chocolates, token Teady bear and the tasteless lingerie, spoil your sweetheart (and yourself) with a reservation at Fabbrica and let their talented chefs take care of the rest. Located at 49 Karl Fraser Drive in the Shops at Don Mills right across from the McEwan’s Shops. Don’t delay in planning your Valentines Day meal, book your special dinner online right here or give them a call at 416-391-0307 today.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

Riesling Apple Brown Butter Ricotta Napoleons

Looking for the perfect dessert to serve during the cold winter months? These Napoleons couldn’t be easier – make the puff pastry and whipped ricotta a day or two beforehand and just spoon on the McEwan’s Own Riesling Apples straight out of the jar right before it’s time to serve.

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and rolled out thinly to about 10″ x 15″

2 tablespoons brown butter

475g container smooth ricotta

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 jar McEwan’s Riesling Apples

powdered sugar, as needed

Riesling Apple Napoleons

Thaw according to the directions on the package and roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface. Cut it into squares or rectangles, depending on how big you want your Napoleons to be.

Lay the rectangles on the larger baking sheet, lined with parchment. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from fridge, cover with another sheet of parchment and place the second smaller baking sheet on top to weigh the pastry down and prevent it from puffing up. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and transfer the pieces to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it foams and starts to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and scrape the melted browned butter into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Add the ricotta, honey and ¼ cup of powdered sugar. Mix well.

Lay one piece of puff pastry down on a small serving plate. Add a couple of tablespoons of ricotta cream and then cover that with a couple of tablespoons of the McEwan’s Riesling Apples. You can serve them just like this with a dusting of powdered sugar and let people pick it up and eat it out of hand.

For a more elegant dessert, add a second piece of puff pastry and sprinkle with powdered sugar. For a real showstopper, add another layer of ricotta and apples and top with a third piece of puff pastry. For the whole shebang, add a second layer of ricotta and apples and top the whole thing with a third piece of puff pastry. Using a fine strainer, sieve some powdered sugar over the top and serve.

Carole Nelson Brown, The Yum Yum Factor
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Fabbrica’s Cannoli

There are those who consider Clemenza’s memorable post-hit utterance in The Godfather— “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli”—one of those regrettable moments in popular culture that undermine the image of Italian Americans. But more enlightened types recognized it for great screenwriting—and as an incredible image boost for an already great dessert.

Makes 12 cannoli

4 tsp (20 mL) sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) shortening

pinch of salt

1 small egg

2 tsp (10 mL) white wine

2 tsp (10 mL) dry marsala

¾ cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour, sifted

FILLING

½ cup (125 mL) buffalo ricotta, drained in cheesecloth for 24 hours

4 tsp (20 mL) fresh goat cheese

2 tbsp (30 mL) 2% milk

3 tbsp (50 mL) icing sugar

3 drops vanilla

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of grated lemon zest

½ cup (125 mL) mascarpone

To Finish

Canola oil for deep-frying

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 cups (500 mL) semi-sweet (52%) coating chocolate, warm (optional)

Icing sugar

Special equipment

Metal cannoli rounds (about 5½ by ½inch/13 by 1 cm)

Combine the sugar, shortening, and salt in a bowl. Work together with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the egg and combine. Add half the white wine and half the Marsala, follow with half the flour, and mix thoroughly with the spatula. Repeat. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to rest for at least 3 hours.

Meanwhile, for the filling, in a medium bowl combine the ricotta, goat cheese, and milk; work together with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the icing sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and lemon zest, and combine again. Finally, add the mascarpone, and whip with a whisk until the mixture forms peaks. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cannoli dough as thinly as possible, as if it were a sheet of pasta. Cut the dough into rectangles about 3 by 5 inches (8 by 13 cm). Stack the rectangles with small sheets of parchment paper in between them until needed (they can be refrigerated or even frozen this way).

Fill a cast-iron skillet to a depth of about ¾ inch (2 cm) with the canola oil and heat it to 375°F (190°C). Working with no more than 6 cannoli tubes at a time, lubricate the tubes with a little more canola oil. Wrap a rectangle of dough around each tube, brushing the inside edge of the overlap with the egg wash so that the dough stays firmly in place. Carefully transfer the tubes to the hot oil and fry, turning, until the shells are brown and crisp, about 45 seconds. Remove to a bed of paper towels to drain. When the tubes are cool, carefully slide off the cannoli. Repeat until you have 12 shells or all the dough is used.

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To finish, if desired, dip one end of the shells in the coating chocolate, and then set aside on a parchment paper – lined baking sheet until set. Transfer the filling to a piping bag and pipe it into both ends of each cannoli until it is filled. Sprinkle the cannoli with icing sugar and serve.

Substitution: You may use a top-quality cow’s milk ricotta in place of the buffalo variety.

Tip: If you have a pasta machine, do not hesitate to use it to roll out this dough—it works brilliantly.

[From: Mark McEwan’s Fabbrica: Great Italian Recipes Made Easy for Home by Mark McEwan. Copyright © General Purpose Entertainment, 2011. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Group (Canada), a Division of Pearson Canada Inc.]