Easy party appetizers from chef Giada de Laurentiis, host of the Food Network's Giada at Home and Everyday Italian. Dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto are a perfect sweet-salty combination. Serve these with a crisp white wine as the ideal before-dinner tidbit.
1/4 cup (2 oz.) goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 oz.) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 Medjool dates (12 oz.)*
8 thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
* The sweetest, best kind of dates are Medjools. They’re large, so they are easy to fill, meaty, and chewy.
Step 1: In a small bowl, mix together the cheeses and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 2: With a knife, make a lengthwise incision in each date. Gently open the dates slightly and remove the pits. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon cheese mixture inside each one. Close the dates around the filling. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each date and secure with a toothpick. Arrange the stuffed dates on a platter and serve.
Reprinted with permission from Giada de Laurentiis' Giada at Home (2010 Clarkson Potter).