Culinary Cruising: Class Dismissed

Marisol, the author of The Lady, the Chef and the Courtesan, a sensual, romantic novel that comes complete with recipes, last month left landlocked Denver for a stint as a celebrity chef. She sent Westword regular missives from her temporary home: a cruise ship. But not everything went according to plan, as readers of those dispatches now know. As a final parting gift for those who've joined her literary voyage, over the next three days we'll present the recipes for the three, ninety-minute cooking classes Marisol would have presented, had everything gone according to plan:

Class 1: Italian Odyssey with Chef Marisol


Ingredients 1 bottle chilled Prosecco* (Italian sparkling wine) 1 pint Häagen Dazs orchard peach sorbet 4 pink rose petals (edible, for garnish) 4 Champagne flutes

Preparation )With a small melon baller, scoop peach sorbet and drop into each Champagne flute. 2)Slowly pour Prosecco into each flute (about 4 ounces). 3)Place one rose petal in each flute and serve.

Music: "Italian Musical Odyssey" by Putamayo

*Proseccos are made in Italy from the Prosecco grape. They are classified as frizzante (lightly sparkling) or spumante (fully sparkling. Try Bortolomiol “Prior” Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut, Italy ($15). It is a creamy Prosecco with hints of citrus and floral notes. Enjoy it by itself as you would Champagne, or try it with a scoop of your favorite sorbet in the summer as a refreshing aperitivo.

CREAMY RISOTTO/Risotto alla Milanese Makes 4 servings

Ingredients 3 ½ cups warm chicken broth 2 tbs. butter 1 shallot (minced) 1 cup Arborio rice ½ cup dry white wine ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ¾ cup heavy cream (whipped to soft peaks) 2 tbs. unsalted butter (at room temperature) Salt (to taste) Ground white pepper (to taste) 4 fresh Basil or Sage leaves (for garnish)

Preparation 1) Bring chicken broth to a simmer in medium saucepan. Keep warm. 2) In heavy large saucepan, melt 2 tbs. butter over medium heat and sauté shallot for 2 minutes (do not brown). Reduce heat to medium-low. 3) Add rice and stir with a wooden spoon to release starch, (about 1 minute). 4) Add wine and simmer until absorbed, (about 1 minute). 5) Add ½ cup of chicken broth. Simmer until absorbed, stirring often. 6) Add remaining broth, ½ cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more. 7) When rice has reached a creamy consistency - not gummy – remove from heat. 8) Add whipped heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of butter and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and white pepper. 9) Divide risotto among four bowls and garnish with Basil or Sage.

PRAWNS in saffron-butter sauce/Gameretto allo Zafferano Makes 4 servings

Ingredients 16 gamerettos or prawns (peeled and de-veined) 1 tbs. kosher salt (to season prawns) 1 tsp. kosher salt (to season saffron butter) 1 tbs. paprika 1 tbs. vegetable oil 1 quart fresh orange juice (reduced to one cup) 1 stick unsalted butter 1 oz. saffron powder

Preparation 1) In a small saucepan reduce orange juice in medium-high heat to one cup (20 minutes). 2) Add saffron powder, whisk butter and season with salt. 3) Season prawns with salt and paprika. 4) Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil, and sauté prawns (2-3 minutes per side). 5) Arrange 4 prawns on each plate. 6) Spoon saffron butter in center of each plate and serve.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun