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~Italian Basil, Tomato, Garlic, Parm & Pepper Butter~

IMG_3368Historically, the French and the Italians agree to disagree often over "who invented what" culinarily.  While writing Tuesday's post ~ The Savory-Sweet Simplicity of Compound Butter ~ (click on the Related Article link below to read it), I told you the French word for it is "beurre compose".  Try as I did, research didn't turn up any historical references to what the formal Italian name for compound butter is.  This surprised me, so, I asked my Facebook friend (an authority on authentic Italian regional cooking). "As far as I know, in general Italian cooking, there is no use of compound butter", was his reply.  If Peter said it, that was good enough for me. 

IMG_3339"Well, that's gotta change", said I to me.  You see, I am only Italian by osmosis -- I married one. This has benefits and provides me with a bit of much-appreciated freedom too.

Benefits:  I get to learn from the Italian women in Joe's family, and, I am respectful of their recipes and traditions.  Who knew that risotto must be stirred counterclockwise?  

Freedom:  When pretending to be Italian in my American kitchen, I get to adlib a bit, and, make my own rules.  Today, I'm making: burro comporre, or, comporre di burro?

Italian Compound Butter?  Italiano Burro Comporre?    

IMG_3460Authentic?  No.  Delicious?  Absolutely.  You be the judge!

IMG_33078  tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature, very soft (1 stick)

1  teaspoon granulated garlic powder

1  teaspoon organic tomato powder, no additives no preservatives*

1/4  teaspoon fine sea salt

1  teaspoon red pepper flakes

6  tablesoons very-thin chiffonade of fresh basil leeaves

4  tablespoons finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

6a0120a8551282970b015432779207970c-320wiNote:  Tomato powder is powdered dehydrated tomatoes. I've come to love it over the past few years and I recommend you add it to your tomato-loving pantry.  It adds the flavor and acid of fresh or canned tomatoes without any liquid!

~ Step 1.  Remove butter from refrigerator and set aside to get very soft.  While butter is softening, use a microplane grater to finely-grate the cheese.  When the butter is soft:

IMG_3274 IMG_3283 IMG_3301~ Step 2.  Stack about 15-20 large basil leaves on top of each other.  Choose leaves with little discoloration and as few spots as possible.  Roll them up "cigar style", then, using a sharp chef's knife, slice through the cigar, to cut them into little "rags or ribbons".  If you don't have 6 tablespoons of basil chiffonade, slice a few more. Rough chop through the chiffonade, to make the ribbons smaller yet.

IMG_3317 IMG_3324 IMG_3328 IMG_3330~Step 3.  In a medium bowl, place the butter, garlic powder, tomato powder, sea salt and red pepper flakes.  Using any spoon, stir vigorously and often until mixture is uniform in color.  Taste.  If you think it needs a pinch of salt, add it.  More garlic powder? Go for it.  Don't look back.

IMG_3333~ Step 4.  Transfer butter to a food storage container and cover.  

If serving free-form, to slather on bread, refrigerate 2 hours or overnight, to give flavors time to marry.  Overnight is best.  Return to room temperature prior to serving.  

IMG_3151If scooping it into small portions or shaping it into a log, refrigerate 20-30 minutes, or until it is just firm enough to shape.

IMG_3126 IMG_3098Once scooped onto a parchment lined baking pan or rolled into log and wrapped in plastic, refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.  Use small scoops of compound butter as directed, cold or at room temperature.  Logs must be sliced cold, then used as directed, cold or at room temperature:

IMG_3485Allow me to slather my "Italian Butter"  on my French Bread: 

IMG_3363... and enjoy a taste while I cook some pasta:

IMG_3441Italian Basil, Tomato, Garlic, Parm & Pepper Butter:  Recipe yields 8 tablespoons equivalent to 1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup.

Special Equipment List:  microplane grater; cutting board; chef's knife; spoon; 1/2-cup food storage container w/lid; small ice-cream scoop, baking pan and parchment paper (optional), or; plastic wrap and kitchen twine (optional)

IMG_2459Cook's Note:  For another non-authentic but really delicious way to enjoy a slice of bread, ~ My E-Z Big Fat Greek Lemon-Pepper Garlic Bread ~, found in Categories 2, 4, 5 or 20, compliments ~ My Big Fat Greek Lemony-Garlic Layered Shrimp Salad ~ perfectly!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014) 


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