Parental Pre-Prom Snacks

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Sausage & Pancetta Stuffed Mushrooms

Let’s be real, the pre-prom party is mainly for the adults. Girls won’t eat anything for fear of ruining their dresses or messing up their makeup and the guys have probably already downed a sandwich or two before donning their tuxes. But what about the hungry parents? It’s true that after the pictures are over and seniors take off in their limos on the way to the prom that the adults have their own party with cocktails and catered food, but what about during the photos ops and waiting around?

These canapes—courtesy of our favorite celebrity chefs—are perfect for adults to enjoy while the girls are primping and the boys are patiently waiting to loosen that bow tie.

Sausage & Pancetta Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell

Makes 30 mushrooms

“These mushrooms are double-stuffed with pork, so even if you think you don’t like mushrooms, remember, they’re just the vessel for a double dose of porky deliciousness. Tip: Always make a small tester patty out of the stuffing before filling all the caps. Cook the patty and taste it to make sure it’s delicious. It may sound like an unnecessary step, but it’s one you don’t want to skip. There’s nothing fun about an underseasoned mushroom.”

Extra virgin olive oil
¼ pound pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and finely chopped,caps reserved
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup dry white wine
½ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large egg
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano
½ cup bread crumbs
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, add the pancetta, and bring to medium-high heat. Cook the pancetta until it starts to brown and crisp on the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onions and the red pepper and season with salt. Continue cooking until the onions are soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Stir in the mushroom stems and rosemary and cook until the mushrooms are brown and soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Remove from the heat and cool.

4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the sausage, egg, Parmigiano, and bread crumbs; add the mushroom mixture, season, and mix well (if the filling seems a little dry, add ¼ to ½ cup water to moisten).

5. Make a 1- to 2-inch tester patty out of the stuffing mixture. In a small sauté pan, heat a bit of oil and cook the patty until it’s done. When it’s cool enough, taste your tester patty to make sure it’s delicious—if it’s not, reseason.

6. Generously fill each mushroom cap with the stuffing mixture, and arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour ¼ to ⅓ cup water into the pan to keep the mushrooms moist. Bake until the filling is cooked through and brown and crispy on top, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to serving platters.

Mama Maria’s Meatballs

Recipe courtesy of Donatella Arpaia

Serves 8-10

Meatballs

1 small loaf stale Italian bread (about 8 thick slices) torn into 2 ½-inch chunks
2 lbs. 80 percent lean ground beef chuck, broken up
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil for frying

1. Put bread in a bowl and add enough warm water to cover. Let stand for 5 minutes, turning to moisten evenly. Gently squeeze out excess water.

2. Add beef, garlic, parsley, egg and ¾ cup of Parmigiano to the bread and combine. Season with salt and pepper. Knead the mixture for at least 5 minutes with your hands, until uniformly combined and smooth.

3. Pinch a tablespoon of meat into your palms and shape into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and continue with the rest of the mixture.

4. Fill a 10-inch skillet halfway with canola oil and heat over high heat. Lower 8-10 meatballs at a time into the oil. Do not overcrowd. They should be ¾ submerged in oil. Reduce the heat to medium and fry for 6-7 minutes each side, turning only once.

5. Remove the meatballs from the oil and turn the heat back up to high before starting the second batch.

6. 20 minutes before serving, add the meatballs to the simmering ragu.

Ragu

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 ½ lbs (6-8) meaty, bone-in-pork spareribs, rinsed
1 ½ lbs (6-8) sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds, pierced all over with a fork
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup red wine
3 (35 oz.) cans tomato puree
1 handful fresh basil leaves

1. Warm olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium heat.

2. Add celery and onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté, partially covered about 5 minutes until golden and soft.

3. Add meats and raise the heat to medium-high. Sauté, turning occasionally until browned all over. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, 5 minutes.

4. Add tomato puree, basil, salt and pepper. Partially cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Let it simmer 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Yellow Beet Hummus with Basil Yogurt & Walnuts

Recipe courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian from Georgie at Montage Beverly Hills

Yellow Beet Hummus

1 lb cooked yellow beets
¼ cup of lemon juice
1 garlic clove
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of tahini
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Basil Puree
½ cup of blanched basil
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Basil Yogurt

½ lb of yogurt
½ cup of basil puree
Salt to taste

Walnuts

2 cups of walnuts
1 tbsp ground toasted cumin
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
Salt to taste

1. To make the hummus: Place beets, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor, and pulse until combined and beets have broken up. Then slowly add olive oil until blended.

2. To make the puree: Puree basil, olive oil, and salt in a food processor until blended and smooth.

3. To make the yogurt: Whisk yogurt with basil puree.

4. Toast nuts in 350 degree F oven, about 5-8 minutes. Remove and place in a mixing bowl and season with a little bit of olive oil, cumin, and salt.

5. Combine hummus, yogurt and walnuts. Serve.

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Jennifer Fauci is the managing editor of Long Island Weekly, Boulevard and Anton Media Group’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of three PCLI awards.

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