Ever been to a Pampered Chef party at a friend’s house? Or at a friend of a friend of a friend’s cousin’s house? I love ’em. I need just about anything PC has in their catalog. No, seriously – it’s a need kind of thing. Like, one thing I needed recently was their cookbook, Easy & Impressive Appetizers. It’s a cute little book comprised entirely of recipes I want to try ASAP. All of them. It doesn’t matter that there is absolutely no more centimeters of space to store any more cookbooks if Casa de Full Fork. Pffftttt.
PC isn’t paying us to do this by the way. I really do enjoy the stuffing out of their stuff.
Does anyone else like to do appetizer dinner nights? We occasionally will do them at my house whereby we round up platters of our favorite finger foods and just sit back, relax and snack on the finer side of things. For hubby and I that’s mini quiche, an antipasto platter, hummus and pita, crackers – that sort of thing. Kidlet’s tastes are still fermenting, so we make her mini PB&J squares and cut up hotdogs with toothpicks in them, but it gets the idea across. She loves it, we loves it, we are all lovings the stew out of some Appetizer Night.
The word “easy” is in the book’s title, so the big question is, exactly how easy are these appetizers to make really? It seems we start off with a very easy list of ingredients. The hardest part is probably remembering to take the cream cheese out a couple of hours ahead of time, to let it come to room temperature. Actually, I’m a bit bad about remembering to do stuff like that, but try to when it comes to cream cheese. Butter can be brought to room temp very easy via the microwave (5 seconds per side of butter, via America’s Test Kitchen – works every time for me), but cream cheese is much easier to heat up too much.
But the easy – yeah, how easy it this recipe really? Twirl your mustaches and waggle those brows. We’re about to find out.
This part? Easy, very much so. It’s a snap to lay out your prosciutto slices into the necessary shape and it’s even a snap to spread on the filling mixture – which tastes faboosh, by the way.
You liked that, didn’t you? Faboosh. Sis blogging partner’s word choice, I stole it I did.
This is where you start to run into some possible whoopsies. Whoopsy 1 – we realized later we forgot the arugula layer before beginning the roll-up portion of the recipe. This turned out to be OK with us, though, cuz we did include it in one roll, but decided we liked it best without the arugula. It’s your choice whether to use it or not.
Whoopsy 2 – you need to get these rolled up as firmly as possible, but it was our first time making them and being that it’s all such a soft softness it was a little hard to even roll it and keep it a firmed roll-up. Just do your best and let it rest.
After you finish all your rolls – the recipe makes 4 total – you can let them rest in the fridge till ready to cut and serve. We wondered after the fact if placing them in the freezer to firm up might not be a bad idea. They weren’t the easiest things to cut into individual portions, and I must have sharpened my knife for ten minutes prior to trying. Not that I know what I’m doing when I pull out the knife sharpener.
Know what else isn’t easy? Turning that balsamic vinegar into a glaze, as the original recipe specifies to do. We’re not the only ones that have had problems merely simmering a liquid down, though. I had it straight from a Pampered Chef consultant that she doesn’t even bother with the balsamic glaze. Ours never did thicken and I tried simmering it down/cooling it twice. It reduced down to almost a quarter cup and showed no sign whatsoever of turning into a nicely thickened glaze. It was not, huff, a team player. We decided to just dot the serving platter with it and the roll-ups kind of soaked it up from the bottom. It wasn’t too bad this way, though I’ve had absolutely delectable, thick balsamic dressings before that were divine. Next time I’m buying one of those.
The moral of this recipe story is take those words like easy with a grain of salt sometimes, but don’t be afraid to try it anyway and make it work for you. My hubby absolutely loved this and couldn’t get enough of them. Granted, he’s already a big fan of prosciutto, but they do taste good, and that’s coming from someone who was a little irritated about the non-balsamic-glaze, for one. When the main part tastes so good, who needs those finicky glazes?
from Prosciutto Spirals With Balsamic Glaze, Pampered Chef Easy & Impressive Appetizers
Prep Time: 20 minutes Chill Time: Up to day ahead or however long needed day of Level: Easy Makes: about 48 pieces
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 16 slices prosciutto (about 8 oz.)
- 2 cups loosely packed arugala (optional)
If using the glaze, simmer vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat 7-9 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; pour into a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Add artichokes, onion and basil; mix well.
Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Arrange four slices of prosciutto vertically over plastic wrap, overlapping slightly to form a 9-inch square. Spread 1/3 cup of the artichoke filling over prosciutto. Top with 1/2 cup of the arugula if using. Starting at side closest to you, tightly roll up prosciutto jelly roll style. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to serve. Repeat three times for a total of four rolls.
Remove rolls from plastic wrap and slice into 12 spirals for a total of 48 spirals. Place on platter and serve with optional glaze.
If you opt for getting fresh-sliced prosciutto from your deli counter, ask them to slice it thin, but not so thin that it tears easily. I know, kind of vague, but if you have to explain how you’ll be using it, it might help them help you.
I’m going to specify the balsamic glaze above as optional, because we couldn’t ever get it to reduce down to a syrup, and while we did use what we had and it was good, these are just as good without it as well. Totally up to you.
Same with the arugula, strictly optional. We tried some with and some without and ended up preferring them sans arugula.