Pallini Limoncello - Liquid sunshine in a glass!
The first time I tried limoncello was in Florence many years ago, at a little restaurant, where the owner came over to sit with me and brought me a glass of his homemade limoncello. Blame it on the moment, or being in Italy, or just the fact that this delicious lemon liqueur tasted like liquid sunshine in a glass, had me searching for limoncello when I returned to the United States and my Florence “supply” had run out. Since then, I have always been on the lookout for a limoncello to recapture my Florence experience, and in the interim, I have resorted to making my own, and although it is very good, it didn’t quite match my first taste of this refreshing lemon liqueur.
I recently found Pallini Limoncello, (www.castlebrandsinc.com), and decided to taste it with my Gourmet Club friends after an Italian theme dinner. I had kept the Pallini Limoncello in the freezer, and brought it to the table icy cold, which I believe best showcases the Pallini Limoncello product, although you can serve it over ice. My Gourmet Club consists of oenophiles, spirits connoisseurs and gourmands, and my friends and I were definitely impressed with this limoncello. First of all, the frosted bottle is gorgeous, tall, slender and elegant, with the Pallini Roma name on it as well as the Pallini Family crest on the bottle. Yes, there really is a Pallini family, and their Pallini Limoncello is made from the original family recipe, which dates back to 1875! If the name sounds familiar, perhaps it is because they also created Romana Sambuca. Once poured, the Pallini Limoncello is a beautiful opaque yellow color, with an aromatic nose of fresh lemons, and a clean, refreshing, almost creamy taste, with just the right amount of sweetness. My friend, Bruce said that the Pallini Limoncello reminded him of Italian lemon ice, only potent, and I can certainly agree with that. The flavor of the Sfusato Amalfitano lemons really comes through in this delightful liqueur, and has a very pleasant aftertaste. I can’t wait to try it drizzled over lemon sorbet as an appealing palate cleanser with a little kick, (the alcohol volume is 26%), served over vanilla ice cream, mixed with fresh diced fruit to create an enhanced fruit salad, or sprinkled over a mixed green salad. For years I have used limoncello in shrimp recipes, and I think that the Pallini Limoncello would be a wonderful addition to baste sole or turbot with while cooking! I made a luscious lemon asparagus risotto, added Pallini Limoncello and it really rounded out the flavor of the risotto.
Of course, there are the more traditional uses of alcohol, like drinking it, but I am a firm believer in also adding a little alcohol to some of my favorite dishes to add a bit of complexity to the recipe. Since I am always looking for new cocktails, I did try the Pallini Limoncello mixed with prosecco, as well as Pallini Limoncello mixed with pomegranate juice, which was especially refreshing. I think both of these drinks would make wonderful summer cocktails for my endless parties. Once you try this very versatile Pallini Limoncello it is sure to recapture your own Italian memories. Soon, Pallini will be introducing other delicious flavors, so be sure to check the web site, www.castlebrandsinc.com for updates, as well as at your favorite liquor store, I know I will!
Luxury Experience’s Luscious Lemon Asparagus Risotto with Pallini Limoncello
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup leeks, finely diced, white and pale green part only
¾ cup asparagus, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock, very hot
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
⅛ cup Pallini Limoncello
Note: Stock must be very hot otherwise the rice will stop cooking.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add leeks and cook until almost translucent, add asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes. Add rice, stir to coat rice and cook until rice is translucent, and then add the lemon zest. Add ½ cup of white wine and simmer until the wine evaporates. Add 1-cup hot chicken stock to the rice, and simmer until the stock is absorbed. Add another 1-cup hot chicken stock to the rice, and simmer until the stock is absorbed. Finally add the last 1-cup of hot chicken stock to the rice, and simmer until the stock is absorbed. Add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and blend well. Finish the risotto by adding the Pallini Limoncello, stir, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.
1 part Pallini Limoncello
2 parts fine sparkling wine
Serve in a champagne glass.
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