Saturday, April 19, 2014

Limoncello lust ...

Upon her return from a school trip to Italy a number of years ago, my daughter proclaimed she would like to move to the Isle of Capri and become a lemon farmer. Well, sure, why not! In addition to the beauty of the Amalfi Coast, she was inspired by her first taste of limoncello.

Isle of Capri

Limoncello is 'the taste of the island,' and the bright yellow fruit that shares the drink's name has been cultivated there for centuries. Did I mention it is the perfect summer drink? It is.

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The Centofanti family, dear friends who hail from Naples, Italy (on the Sorrentine Peninsula across the Gulf of Naples from the Isle of Capri), have mastered the art of making limoncello over generations. And, I'm determined to give it a try.

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No, I haven't been privy to their family recipe, but how hard can it be?  I found a recipe that seems pretty straightforward.

LIMONCELLO RECIPE from Giada De Laurentiis
Yield:7 cups

10 lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

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I have these great stopper bottles just waiting to be put into service. (These bottles are sold at World Market, in case you want to pick some up, too.) 

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Limoncello is cool refreshment in the summer heat and a beautiful reminder of our time in Italy. Love, love the bright yellow hues lemons bring to the table, too.


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