Italian dinner

10

I always enjoy cooking for friends and having a dinner theme; this way I discover new dishes & flavors. This time I tried preparing a rather simple yet full of flavors dinner: Italian

I wanted to prepare some representative dishes so I got all of the ideas online (of course!) and I concluded to the following:

  • bruschetta
  • prosciutto e melone
  • insalata caprese
  • pizzette
  • rigatoni con gorgonzola
  • melanzane parmigiana

Bruschetta

z

INGREDIENTS (for about 4 servings)

  • 4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • 8 slices of white bread
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

xSTEPS

  • Combine the slices of tomato, basil, vinegar, sugar and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl
  • Add the salt, pepper & thyme
  • Preheat grill on medium-high & place the bread on a baking tray. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes each side or until golden
  • Rub the garlic over one side of each piece of bread slice
  • Add the remaining olive oil
  • Add the tomato mixture onto the bread slice

 

 

Prosciutto e melone

g

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cantaloupe or melon – seeded & cut into small bite-slices
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto

STEPS

  • Remove the flesh from the rind of the cantaloupe/melon
  • Wrap each piece of cantaloupe/melon with a slice of the ham
  • Serve cold

 

Insalata caprese

a

INGREDIENTS 

  • 9-10 tomatoes
  • 5-6 balls mozzarella
  • 2 cups fresh basil leave
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

STEPS

  • Place the basil leaves, pine nuts and the garlic into a mortar pestle or blender & pulse several times until smooth

b

  • Add the Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and pulse several times more

f    e

  • While you are still pulsing, slowly add the olive oil

c

 

  • Stir in the salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Wash & cut the tomatos vertically in nice big slices
  • Do the same with the mozzarella cheese and place the slices on top of the tomatoes
  • Add the pesto you just prepared
  • Decorate with some fresh basil leaves

 

 

Pizette
k

INGREDIENTS (for 6 portions)

  • 3 baguettes, cut into 3 pieces and each piece into half
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 teaspoon ketchup
  • 1 red pepper cut into rings
  • 1 small spicy green pepper cut into rings
  • 15 olives cut into small pieces (without the pit)
  • 200 gr mozzarella cheese
  • (Optional) 5-6 salami slices j
  • Yellow cheese (edam, pecorino, gouda etc.), grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano

lSTEPS

  • Prepare a simple tomato sauce by sautéing the garlic in olive oil and adding the tomato sauce & the ketchup and the oregano
  • Place the baguette slices on a grill tray and lay a layer of tomato sauce on top
  • At this point you can improvise with ingredients; you can place the salami slices, peppers, olives, mozzarella in different portions and combinations. Once you place the ingredients, add the grated yellow cheese, spray with a bit of olive oil & grate some black pepper on top
  • Grill in preheated oven at 200oC for bout 15min

 

Rigatoni with gorgonzola 

q

(the Greek version of this recipe can be found here: http://www.homefood.gr/recipes/recipe.asp?cat=10&id=1646)

INGREDIENTS (for 4-5 portions)

  • 400g rigatoni
  • 50g margarine
  • 130g gorgonzola
  • 1 teaspoon rum or cognac
  • 200ml sour cream 
  • 50g parmesan or pecorino, grated
  • 75g walnuts, crushed
  • some fresh basil leaves
  • salt & freshly fround pepper 

STEPS

  • Prepare the pasta (rigatoni); place them in boiling salted water for about 8-10min; once done, strain them well
  • Melt the margerine in a large pot and add the gorgonzola cheese

p

  • Once the gorgonzola cheese is melted, pour the rum or cognac and once this wears off add the sour cream

n

  • All these ingredients need to become one by stirring them and letting them boil for a bit
  • Add the past in the pot, half the parmesan or pecorino cheese, the walnuts & the fresh basil; stir them continuously
  • Once you serve, add the rest of the cheese and grind some fresh black pepper

 

Melanzane parmigiana

INGREDIENTS

3

  • 800g chopped tomatoes
  • 6 large aubergines
  • 100g parmesan or pecorino, finely grated
  • 250g balls mozzarella
  • 50g pine nuts
  • some sage leaves
  • some thyme
  • some fresh basil leaves
  • breadcrumbs (optional)

 

5

STEPS

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan or pot, add the garlic, thyme and sage, and cook gently for a few mins
  • Add in the tomatoes & sugar and gently simmer for 20-25 mins until thickened a little
  • Slice the aubergines in half and then cut them in thin slick slices. Heat a pan; spray the aubergine slices on both sides with olive oil, then fry them in batches
  • In a large baking dish, spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base. Mix 25g of the Parmesan or Pecorino with the pine nuts, and set aside
  • Top the sauce with a layer or two of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over a bit more sauce, then add some mozzarella, Parmesan or Pecorino and basil leaves

12

 

 

 

 

 

  • Repeat, layering up – and finish with the last of the tomato sauce; scatter over the breadcrumbs (optional)

8

  • Heat oven to 200oC fan. Bake for 30-40 mins until the top is crisp and golden, and the tomato sauce bubbling

9Enjoy & buon appetito 🙂

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