Italian Indoor Picnic

cuisine Italian
difficulty Simple
season Year Round
serves 6

ingredients for the italian bean spread

1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil Juice of 1/2 a lemon 4 cloves garlic, peeled 1 teaspoon1 teaspoon minced rosemary 1 teaspoon1 teaspoon thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the Basil Pesto (Nut-Free):

for the basil (nut free)

2 cups densely packed basil leaves, stems removed 1/2 cup densely pack spinach leaves, stems removed 2 large garlic cloves, peeled 1 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup ground pecorino romano cheese 1/4 cup ground Parmesan Reggiano cheese

for the vegetables

1 bunch of small rainbow carrots, peeled with 4” of the stems intact 1 package of small tomatoes on the vine 2 heads of garlic, tops cut off

to plate

1 cup green olives 1 cup black olives 1 cup prepared artichoke hearts A selection of Italian salumi: prosciutto, genoa, finocchiona

directions for the italian bean spread

  1. Put the beans, olive oil, lemon juice, 4 cloves garlic, rosemary, thyme, and red pepper flakes into the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Whir until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top to prevent a skin from forming. Cover and reserve or refrigerate until ready to use.

for the basil pesto

  1. Put the basil, spinach, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse twice.
  2. Begin slowly adding the olive oil through the feed tube and pulse until the basil mixture reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Place in a glass container with a lid, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the cheeses. Taste for seasoning, stir in a bit more olive oil if the pesto is too thick or too dry.
  4. Finish with a thin layer of olive oil over the top, cover, and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Keeps one week refrigerated, or six months in the freezer.

for the vegetables

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Put each head of garlic onto a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place on the top rack of the oven. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top and the cloves slip easily from their papery skins.
  3. Put the carrots and the tomatoes on separate QUARTER SHEET BAKING TRAYS and drizzle with olive oil. Roll the vegetables in the oil making certain that the stems and flesh are coated in oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the sheets in the pan, tomatoes above the carrots (both below the garlic), and roast for 10 minutes, or just until the tomatoes have softened slightly (they shouldn’t burst). Roast the carrots 5 minutes more until they are just starting to caramelize but are still a bit crunchy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

to plate

  1. Begin with a LARGE DISH WITH HIGH SIDES. Put the bean dip and the pesto into small bowls.
  2. Arrange the carrots at an angle across the dish so they are easy to grab.
  3. Pile the tomatoes opposite the carrots.
  4. Begin filling in around the vegetables with the heads of garlic, olives, and artichoke hearts. Finish by piling each salumi in opposite areas on the plate.