If you didn't find an easy cheesy appetizer that looked delicious, I have one more suggestion: pecorino fondata. This baked Italian cheese dish is incredibly uncomplicated to prepare; you simply toss cubed cheese with chopped hazelnuts and fresh thyme, then bake till it's melted and gooey. The most difficult thing about this fondue-like appetizer is finding the right kind of cheese. I recommend heading to a local cheese shop or more high-end grocer like Whole Foods. Ask the cheesemonger for a young soft pecorino with a good melting quality. Serve with crisp crostini or crunchy crackers and a glass of sparkling wine. Ready for the recipe?
Watching her as a judge on Iron Chef America, I always thought Donatella Arpaia was cold and snobby.
However, after reading her hints for romantic cooking and seeing her up close and personal at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, I've changed my mind. I think the independent Italian restaurant owner is fabulous!