Tag Mascarpone

Get Ready for Eat, Pray, Love: An Italian-Inspired Recipe

Finally, the much anticipated release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love is here! The film opens in theaters this week on August 13, 2010. While not everyone can take a year off to travel the world, we can all celebrate the cuisine of Italy. This delicious crostini recipe combines mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese, with tender and sweet braised fennel. With hints of orange and honey, you’ll feel like the Mediterranean is just outside your door.

Crostini of Mascarpone with Orange and Honey Caramelized Fennel
This recipe can also be found in our Appetizer Recipe Library!


Caramelized Fennel
2 Tablespoons butter
2 large fennel bulbs, stems and core removed, very thinly sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices (reserve frond for garnish)
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from about 2 Navel oranges)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Crostini and Herbed Mascarpone
1 baguette, sliced diagonally into slices 1/4-inch thick
1/3 cup olive oil
8 ounces fresh mascarpone
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tablespoon flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Parsley, thyme, or fennel frond for garnish


Sauté Fennel: Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Add fennel and sauté until starting to soften and brown, about 15 minutes. Add wine and reduce to a syrup.  Zest the orange and set aside (you will use the zest/ juice in the mascarpone so reserve any unused juice and zest). Add the orange juice, stock, honey and vinegar.  Cook over medium heat until the fennel is caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.  Add the reserved orange zest, thyme, parsley, and salt.  Set aside.

Make Crostini: Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil.  Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and cook until the slices are golden around the edges and crisp, about 10-15 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Herbed Mascarpone: In a small bowl, mix the mascarpone with a fork and add the orange zest and juice, thyme, parsley and salt.

Assemble Crostini: Spread 1 Tablespoon of mascarpone onto each crostini.  Spoon a tablespoon of the fennel mixture on top, and garnish with a fennel frond.  Serve.

Makes 24 crostini.

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