Several years ago, my mother and I took a one-day cooking class in Florence, Italy. It was predictably glorious and we made pasta, panna cotta and other classic Italian dishes after shopping in the open air markets.
I have never replicated the homemade pasta for a variety of reasons, including the fact that we -- and everyone else -- are trying to cut down on carbs. But mostly because I'm lazy and I live where I can buy really good fresh pasta, and really good dried pasta whenever I like.
The panna cotta was unbelievably delicious and I still have the printed out recipe somewhere, but I've never made that again either. I always know I can, but I hesitate to cook with heavy cream, which panna cotta is by (translated) definition, (there's that health consciousness again) and usually I just make something else for dessert.
The one thing I do make over and over again is something I serve as either an appetizer or dessert (great with a Muscatel or other dessert wine or aperitif) and is simply an unusual and extraordinary combination of flavors.
And it goes without saying: only use the best quality ingredients. Otherwise, just don't bother.
Figs with Parmesan and Truffle Honey
One pint fresh figs (any kind is fine, I usually use the dark mission figs)
Wedge of aged Parmesan
1. Gently rinse the figs and pat dry. Trim the ends and slice each fig in half lengthwise.
2. Arrange the figs, seed side up, on a platter.
3. Cut a small thin slice of Parmesan for each half fig.
4. Place the Parmesan slices on top of the fig halves.
5. Drizzle the honey over the figs and Parmesan.
6. Serve at room temperature.