RPM Italian is both one of the most popular restaurants in Chicago, and one of my personal favorites. The space is modern and elegant, and the food is a mix of classic Italian recipes and creative seasonal offerings. You can get spaghetti and meatballs, or spicy king crab over squid ink spaghetti – the menu has lots of variety. RPM is the type of restaurant that everyone loves – and a solid pick if you have parents in town visiting.
Recently I joined some friends for appetizers and wine at RPM Italian, and since my friends happen to work for Lettuce Entertain You (the company that owns RPM and dozens of other Chicago restaurants) they were able to provide me with the recipes for three early fall appetizers so I could share them with you! These recipes are perfect examples of simple, easy-to-prepare appetizers that are big on flavor, that are sure to impress any dinner guests.
These recipes are scalable, so I haven’t included any amounts. You can choose to make enough to serve two or a crowd.
Provolone-Stuffed Peppadew Peppers
I love these sweet peppers that are stuffed with a sharp provolone. A similar recipe was served at a wedding my family attended last month and my mother hasn’t stopped talking about how much she loved them.
You will need:
Extra-Sharp Aged Auricchio Provolone, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Peppadews peppers, marinated in extra-virgin olive oil
Simply stuff each marinated Peppadew pepper with a cube of Provolone. Arrange on a plate and garnish with some parsley. You could definitely prepare this appetizer a day before a party too.
Walnut and Black Truffle Crostini
This appetizer is all about the ingredients. Fresh toasted bread is slathered with ricotta and topped with toasted walnuts, black truffle, and walnuts.
You will need:
Fresh Italian Bread
Fresh Black Truffle, for shaving
Coarsely chop the walnuts, and toast them on an un-greased baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Thickly slice the bread, and toast it. Spread ricotta over the slices of bread, top with the toasted walnuts, drizzle with a touch of honey, and shave the black truffle over. Serve immediately.
Ricotta with Figs and Crispy Prosciutto
Figs are a late summer/early fall seasonal food that is rich with flavor. I love that this appetizer has crispy prosciutto- I think it is much better crispy.
You will need:
Whole-Milk Ricotta Cheese
Begin by slicing the figs in half, and arranging them cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until slightly caramelized and soft. Meanwhile, quickly fry strips of prosciutto in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until the prosciutto is crispy, then let the prosciutto cool before crumbling it. Toast the bread, and spread it with the ricotta. Top with slices of the roasted fig, crumbled prosciutto, drizzle with the saba balsamic, and serve.
Looking for a wine pairing? You can’t go wrong with Rosé! Next week I will be sharing food and wine pairings from the menus at different Chicago restaurants.