In 1973, a beautiful, brunette mother of four created a small shop in Marblehead that sold take-out food and baked goods. Inspired by this storefront success, Rosalie Harrington went on to establish Rosalie’s, a restaurant in an old brick building with cuisine inspired by the basil, prosciutto, and real Parmigiana Reggiano of Northern Italy, a romantic dining environment that couldn’t be touched by the old Boston school still cooking from Fannie Farmer. People in Boston and the North Shore were hungry for the vibrancy and finesse of Parma and Lombardy.
A self-taught cook, with a few lessons from her Italian grandmother, Rosalie seemed to have a magic panache with veal, chicken, pasta, and ambiance. People loved Rosalie, her honest, beautifully prepared dishes, and the camera loved her, too. Rosalie ultimately had her own television show on the FoodNetwork, and was the food editor of a weekly local television magazine called “Look.” A beauty with innate style, Harrington even spent a semester at the famous Lee Strassberg School of Acting in New York City.
For years many joked that the best restaurant in Boston was actually in Marblehead. Rosalie’s was where Boston concierges sent guests begging for a good dinner in the land of over-done baked beans and potato-ey codfish cakes. To this day, people get misty at Rosalie remembrances: the oysters Danielle, the veal Marsala, that angel hair pasta.
And now Rosalie Harrington returns, offering three “Easy Breezy Summer Cooking Classes.”
Harrington’s style is to bring home a basket of local produce, and apply the techniques of her Northern Italian nonna. Here are some lessons promised in the first class, May 27: Country pates are easy to pull together, and make a great a hostess gift. A gorgeous antipasto can be created after a day at the beach if you include that farm stand stop on your way home. Summer is no time to stop making risotto, particularly seafood risotto with grilled corn, swiss chard and sausage. Everyone should know how a recipe for cool, light buttermilk panna cotta with a “very” berry topping.