My Love Affair... with Italian Food

As far as regional favorites go, Italian has to be my number one favorite (sorry Peter.) Start me off with some prosciutto- wrapped melon and a nice prosecco, feed me a terrific homemade pasta dish, and top it off with a dabble of creamy, rich gelato or a cannoli. I'll be satisfied and 2 pounds heavier, but I'll remember that meal for a while to come. Great stuff that Italian food.

So before I embark on my attempt to lose a few of those pounds gained from pure indulgence, we had one final love affair with Italian food last night.

We downed a bottle of our number one favorite wine... Amarone. This is good stuff, especially with a red sauce pasta. We buy our Amarone at Costco for a pretty good price.

We started with the fave: A no- brainer... wrap some thinly sliced prosciutto around ripe, juicy slices of canteloupe. Cuts of higher quality prociutto work best for wrapping (and taste better too.) The sweet and salty pairing is wonderful.

I also whipped up a few of Giada's Pizzettes with Gorgonzola, Tomato and Basil. This is an easy, easy appetizer to make, and it's perfectly tasty at room temperature too.

I made a simple salad of greens with toasted pine nuts, shaved Parmesan and a splash of olive oil and balsamic.

This one was the star of the meal last night: fresh pasta ribbons with Bolognese Sauce. I wish I could say that I made my own pasta (it's on my list of things to do.) But since we are lucky enough to have a Little Italy section near downtown San Diego, I went with the expertise of the guys who run a local pasta place and purchased some of the fresh stuff to make at home. It was indeed fantastic, but only because of the rock-star quality Bolognese Sauce that topped it. This is a pretty authentic recipe with chicken livers and the whole bit. If that scares you, then you can certainly sub pancetta for the livers. We liked the flavors just the way they were.

I wish I could say that I made an amazing new gelato recipe to end this great meal. We were beyond- stuffed. And today marks the day that I bid farewell to my beloved pasta for a time. I'll still be cooking away for the family and others... but sadly I'll only enjoy a test bite or two until I'm in my skinny jeans again! Can you say "willpower???!"

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