Forget the beer and nachos for this television show and instead dust off the fine china. The 25th Anniversary Gala at the Metropolitan Opera will be broadcast nationally via pay-per-view cable television Monday evening. Check your cable network for channel and price information.
For culinary inspiration we turned to the "The Metropolitan Opera Cookbook" edited by Jules Bond. The cookbook is full of recipes contributed by opera greats such as Luciano Pavarotti's pasta and tuna recipe and Leontyne Price's shrimp gumbo recipe. Kiri Te Kanawa, the celebrated soprano, contributed Maori Kisses. This beautiful cookbook, published in 1988 by Stewart Tabori & Chang, is still available at some specialty book stores such as Harborplace's "Books for Cooks." The number is: 547-9066.
Pennoni al Tonno Pasta with Tuna 2 tablespoons corn oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 6 1/2 -ounce cans imported tuna packed in oil
1 2-ounce can anchovies, cut small
3-ounces tomato paste
1 12-ounce can tomato juice
Garlic salt to taste
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound pennoni or other pasta, cooked al dente
In sauce pan, heat oil and saute onion until transparent. Add tuna and anchovies and stir for two or three minutes. Add tomato paste, tomato juice and garlic salt. Stir well and simmer for 15 minutes. Add sauce to cooked pasta, mix well and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately. Serves six.
Shrimp Gumbo 5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons flour
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups canned tomatoes
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 cups cooked okra, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon file powder (a seasoning found in most spice aisles)
18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 8-ounce container crabmeat, picked over
Cooked white rice, about 3 cups
Heat two tablespoons butter in a saucepan and saute onions for five minutes. Do not let brown or scorch. Add remaining butter and when it is melted, blend in flour. Gradually add broth, stirring until smooth and thickened. Add tomatoes, salt, parsley, thyme, garlic and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for one hour. Add okra, file, shrimp, and crabmeat. Mix well and simmer for another eight to ten minutes. Serve over hot rice. Serves four to five.
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup superfine sugar, about
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon cream sherry
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Sift together flour, baking powder and cocoa, then add to creamed mixture. Mix in dates and nuts. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet, then flatten each slightly to about one-half-thickness. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
Prepare icing while kisses cool. Sift sugar. Cream butter, then while beating, gradually add half the sugar until creamy and fluffy. Beat in sherry and remaining sugar. Stir in vanilla. Remove kisses from baking sheet and join pairs together with icing. Makes about four dozen.