Parmigiano Reggiano and Tomato Biscuits

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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As a college student, I worked in the theater costume shop, and over the course of my years working there, I worked on several operas.  As a kid and teenager, I had some exposure to opera, but it was pretty limited and due to immaturity, I thought opera with pretty ridiculous sounding.  I much preferred Broadway style singing (I still do prefer it).  

Then, I remember sitting in on a Don Giovanni dress rehearsal helping take costume notes my first semester working in the costume shop, and the director told one actor that he needed to project more while singing or they would need to give him a microphone.  The actor was adamant that he could project louder, and didn't need a mic, and near tears when the director suggested this.  

I hadn't ever realized that opera singers need to be able to project to a theater of 1200 people without a microphone.  There my appreciation began, and since then I have seen a number of operas, and actually really like the genre now.  A few nights ago, I was editing some photos while watching "No Reservations" on Netflix, and Nick, one of the main characters, listens to a lot of opera.  I realized how much I had missed it, and turned it on again last week.  It was a lovely experience.  

A few of my favorites include some famous songs like Nassun Dorma, the Queen of the Night Aria from The Magic Flute, and the Commendatore's song from Don Giovanni (Adam's favorite part is at 5:30ish of this song.  His voice goes INSANELY low).  If you want to watch another movie with lots of gorgeous opera songs in it, I really like A Room with a View (warning: there is some male nudity in it, so I always skip that scene).  The theme song is so beautiful and makes me want to move to a villa in Italy.  

I have found that getting older has given me the opportunity to appreciate a few of the finer things in life.  Like creating delicious foods with amazing Italian cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano (I guess I just like Italian things...).

These biscuits are perfectly cheesy with a delicious bit of sun-dried tomato coming through.  They are light, fluffy, flavorful and absolutely gorgeous for a beautiful fall night.  

You should make them tonight while listening to some Italian Opera.  It might be the best thing you do all week!  Just make sure you get real Parmigiano Reggiano (I have found it at most cheese sections in many grocery stores).  Be on the look out for the pin dots on the rind, you and you will know you have the best there is!  

Parmigiano Reggiano and Tomato Biscuits
Adapted from Bake!

Makes 6-8 biscuits, depending on size and thickness

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (spoon into a measuring cup and level off with a knife)
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7 Tbs unsalted butter, very cold, and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 + 1/8 cup milk (or 5/8ths cup, but that seems overly complicated...)
2/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (I used the dry tomatoes, rather than the ones packed in oil)

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, and pulse several time to mix.

Add the butter pieces, and mix until there are no visible butter pieces left, but the mixture is still powdery looking.

Add the parmesan and sundried tomatoes and mix again.

Turn off the mixer, and dump the milk in.  With a rubber spatula, scrape upwards from the bottom of the bowl, to moisten as evenly as possible.

Flour a clean counter top or cutting board, and turn out the contents of the mixer.

Very carefully, press the dough into a 6" square, and fold into thirds, by folding the bottom third over the middle third, then folding the top third over that,  and pressing down.  Now, press it out again, to make it a little longer in length, and fold it into thirds again, this time from the shorter ends. Now press your small square of dough back into a 6" square.

Using a 2" cutter (or glass), floured before each cut, cut out the biscuits, cutting straight down, without twisting.  Press the scraps together, and cut out more biscuits, discarding the remaining scraps, after your first cut out of scraps.

Place biscuits on your baking sheet 1" apart and bake them for 15-20 minutes, pulling them when they are golden brown and well risen.  Let them cool for a couple minutes before serving.  Enjoy!



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