papa, paparazzi.

Paparazzi in Georgetown holds a very special place in Chris and I’s hearts.  Before we met, Chris had been a few times with good friends, and I’d actually enjoyed my 16th birthday dinner there!  Most importantly, however, Paparazzi was part of Chris and I’s “epic first date.”  This date began at the museum and gardens of Dumbarton Oaks, then carried over to coffee at Dean & Deluca, and then after some serious strolling around Georgetown, we ended up at Paparazzi for dinner.  (Date length = 7 hours.)

So it’s only natural that Paparazzi would get a blog post at some point.  :)  The occasion this time was that Chris’ dad and uncle were in town.  As expected, we all definitely enjoyed the meal!

We started out with the Calamari Con Fritti appetizer, which is a favorite for Chris.  The jalapeños involved were a nice touch!  I was excited to learn that Uncle K shares my interest in Italian arrabiata sauce.  He actually ordered a pizza with arrabiata sauce!  We hadn’t heard of that combination before, but it proved to be very yummy.  I also went spicy, and here is my Penne All’ Arrabiata (“pasta quills with browned garlic, virgin olive oil and white wine in a spicy pomodoro sauce”).

Penne All’ Arrabiata

The wine turned out to be a great choice.  We went with a Poggio d’Elsa Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese.  I’ve had those grapes separately so many times, but this may have been a first for me to try them as a blend!  I am definitely a fan.  This is a huge and unfair generalization, but at least for me, basic cheaper Italian wines (like most basic cheaper Old World wines) often seem to be more medium-bodied, with flavors that are further brought out only when you’re eating the right food.  For instance, I find that cheaper Chianti wine is mediocre when alone, but it comes to life with Parmesan cheese.  Anyway, my point is that the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese made for a surprisingly bold Italian wine on its own… for a very reasonable price!

Poggio d'Elsa Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese

No complaints here, Paparazzi.  You know we’ll be returning to you for more special moments when we are craving solid Italian cuisine.

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a bachelorette party spread!

As the matron of honor (I know, “matron” sounds so old!), I was in charge of throwing my dear friend Lauren a bachelorette party!  She wanted margaritas, a request I was happy to comply with, so I planned the spread to be mostly Mexican-themed. :)

Bachelorette Party Spread

MENU

  • Margaritas (2 shots quality tequila, 1 shot cointreau, 1/2 shot lime juice, 1/2 shot agave nectar for 1 strong serving)…  very pure and lovely margs!
  • Lemonade
  • Barbacoa Sliders
  • Mini homemade pizzas (pepperoni and cheese options, garlic & herb dough from Trader Joe’s)
  • Exotic Fruit (thanks to Julianne)
  • Homemade Guacamole (avocados, lime juice, fresh cilantro, sea salt, and pepper)
  • Salsa (thanks to Kim)
  • Tortilla Chips (thanks to Kim and Carrie)
  • Queso (thanks to Chaney)
  • Spicy Artichoke Dip (thanks to Carrie… I sure need to get this recipe!!)
  • Cheese-Stuffed Peppers (Poblano & Sweet Peppers stuffed w/a ricotta, cream cheese, cayenne pepper spice, & red pepper flake spice blend… then coated in olive oil and broiled!)
It all turned out AMAZING, and I was so thankful to have great contributors help out!  Lauren had a wonderful time, and felt very celebrated.  Hooray for love, and for good food! :)  Here is a close-up of the sliders… I used the same barbacoa recipe from this post… I added lots more jalapenos and such, but still couldn’t get it very spicy!  Oh well, still good.  The coleslaw was from the recipe I referenced in this post.

Barbacoa Sliders

I was inspired to make Barbacoa Sliders, because of my obsession with the happy hour at La Sandia in Tysons.  Seriously, their happy hour has SUCH great deals on food and drinks.  In fact, they just extended happy hour until 9pm on weekdays!  You bet I’ll be there on Friday before seeing the new Harry Potter movie!

prosciutto lasagna with angry sauce.

Earlier this week, I decided to tweak my mother’s amazing lasagna recipe in order to include some ingredients that I’ve been loving lately.  Here are two things I’ve been obsessed with since honeymooning in Italy: prosciutto and arrabiata sauce.  Prosciutto, according to Caitlin Fitzgibbons on HelloGiggles, is “like ham that went to university abroad — sophisticated and cultured.”  Love it.  Arrabiata sauce is spicy red sauce.  I learned in Italy that arrabiata actually means angry!  The Italian language is so beautiful.

So here is a rough recipe of my Prosciutto Lasagna with Arrabiata Sauce….

INGREDIENTS

  • 13 x 9 pan
  • 6 oz prosciutto
  • 2 jars of Arrabiata sauce (I only had one, so when I realized I needed more, I added some ground cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes to a jar of normal sauce)
  • Package of lasagna noodles
  • 1 pint ricotta cheese
  • 12 oz mozzarella cheese block
  • (I also threw in some fontina cheese, since it had it on hand.)
  • Parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs

Ingredients.

DIRECTIONS

  • Apply a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of the pan.
  • Then 3 long noodles.  (I usually cook the noodles, but happened to have the oven-ready kind on hand.)
  • Alternate blobs of ricotta mixture (which is ricotta mixed with the eggs and parsley) and mozzarella across noodles.
  • Add sauce on top, just to cover, along with proscuitto.  Sprinkle parmesan.
  • Repeat layering order, ending with sauce and some parmesan cheese on top.
  • Cook for 30 minutes (covered in foil) at 350 degrees.  Let cool, and enjoy!

Prosciutto Lasagna w/Arrabiata Sauce + Zucchini.