Sunday, June 1, 2008

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???!"

Click on the recipe titles above to view the recipes

40 comments:

noble pig said...

I wish more people would try Amarone, it is a wonderful wine as you say. It all looked delicious and I'll have to agree with you on the Italian stuff.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I'm going to have to dub you an honorary Paisana for this one, Lori! That is one excellent and droolworthy meal! Tell your husband that there should be some jewelry involved for a great meal like this! ;)

RecipeGirl said...

Noble- Yeah, I think a lot of people don't know much about Amarone. We actually went to the Lake Garda area in Italy just so we could visit wineries where they make Amarone!

Susan- I'll let my hubby know about the jewelry thing. He does have a Tiffany catalogue on his desk with a couple of sticky notes in it :)

Ann said...

I so wish I were sitting at your table as these dishes made their appearance! The pasta, in particular, just looks to die for!

Bellini Valli said...

Everything would have had me melting around the table revisiting all those wonderful Italian flavours:D

Helene said...

I have to say that I'm a big fan of Greek food but could not resist that meal. Everythink looks good especially with the wine.

Erinn said...

When it comes to a love of Italy, culture, wine, food, then we are definitely "sisters in spirit." I can't think of any cuisine I love more (well, I am Greek, so that's high on the list too...but oh Italian!) Your recipes will defenitely be drawn upon for my own purposes in the near future. Yum!!

Kevin said...

That Italian meal looks perfect!

Melanie said...

I'm with you on the Italian thing - so I am completely drooling over the menu. It looks incredible!

Peter M said...

LOL @ Lori...no apologies needed and besides...I've only just begun to expose you to Greek cuisine...there's time still!

I love Italian food, especially the Sicilian dishes which are very appealing.

Lisa said...

I am drooling right now! Italian is my favorite also and that is a damn nice meal you made!

Manggy said...

Another Italian food lover here! :) Gorsh, I don't think I would ever lose weight since I'd always be craving your pasta! But I think pasta still definitely has a place in weight loss- just in smaller portions, or on the side :) (If you can resist the temptation!)

Medena said...

How can you possibly end an affair with food that good!? :)))

I know how it is, I myself have allowed myself to gain "a few" pounds lately, and it's not just about fitting in my skinny jeans, it's how I feel, I was so much more energetic last year...

Laura said...

Wow those pizzettes look great. And I wish I could try your Bolognese--it looks divine!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

The pasta with the chicken liver thing does not bother me at all - delicious! As for the weight-loss venture, I bid you good luck. I know you will make good food taste fantastic and looking good too.

Luke said...

Saveur magazine just had a whole issue on bolognese and I have been meaning to try some ever since. This might be the motivation I needed: http://www.saveur.com/food/classic-recipes/classic-rag-alla-bolognese-1000053616.html

ali said...

wow, what a feast. looks amazing. every bite. i'm particularly intrigued by those pizzettes ... i bet people go crazy for them!

Jenny said...

I am a nut for Italian too, all of your dishes look beautiful!! Love the little pizzas!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

What a great spread! Everything looks delicious!

Grace said...

two pounds well worth it, i'd say. i'm smitten all the way from the prociutto and melon (you're right--it just works) to the gorgeous pasta ribbons and meat sauce. the green-eyed monster seems to have taken up residence on my shoulder. :)

Victoria Sponge said...

What an amazing last supper before a diet. I love Italian food, my whole family does. I also love the original recipe using chicken livers!
Vicky xxx

Emiline said...

What a feast! Holy cow! I don't know where to begin. Everything looks so good. I love Italian food, too. It's by far, my fav cuisine.

Good luck with the skinny jeans! I hear you on that.

kittie said...

Wow - what a spread!
I adore Italian food - and have been resisting the urge to make pasta for the last week or two... I really like the sound of your bolognese though - I've never tried cooking liver before!

VeggieGirl said...

I couldn't agree more - Italian food is definitely my favorite cuisine as well, hands down. It's just so flavorful, hearty, and divine!!

Nicole said...

Looks fabulous! I will have to look for that wine. I hear you on the will power! Soooooo hard! I can do it for a while and then ... ooops! I slip and need to start over. ARRRGGHHH.

Hillary said...

I've been meaning to make my own pasta too! One day I'll get around to it...that's a great looking Italian meal! Nice job.

Abby said...

Now THAT is a meal to remember. I'm going to have to check out that wine at Costco in a few months!

And that sauce? I can tell it's authentic. YUM.

LyB said...

I'm not sure I could give up any part of this meal, even for a little while! :) It all looks delicious!

Rosie said...

Your Italian meal looks perfection!! I do enjoy Italian food too :)

Rosie x

Sandy said...

I wish I would have been at your house for dinner.
I have a delicious lasagna recipe where I use bolognese sauce. Out of this world!
Fun blog!

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Giada who????
From now on, YOU'RE the queen of Italian!

I love the Amarone too!

Prudy said...

At least you celebrated your last day of good eats with a bang. When I'm dieting I feel like I lose my best two hobbies-cooking and eating!

Isa said...

Everything look amazing! Specially those prosciutto-wrapped melon slices! And that pasta... OMG! Though I have to admit I'm a little scared by the chicken livers...
My diet starts tomorrow too! xD

Mary Coleman said...

Amarone is one of my favorite red wines.This meal is fantastic. I do love a chicken liver sauce with pasta!

Josie said...

Lori I feel your pain... I keep trying to find new inspiration for meals using a lot of lean protein :-) d@mn personal trainers ;) At least you got to enjoy your beautiful "last meal" :)

Parker said...

I am a sucker for a good red wine and itialian food. All courses look great, particularly the bologenese sauce.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Oh Lori, A girl after my own heart!
I could cry this looks so good! I would have savored every bite before I said good bye. I've done the no pasta thing many times, but always come back. I wish I could eat like Giada, take a very small plate, and have a tiny bite of everything. Yeah right!!!

Deborah said...

This whole meal has my stomach growling!! Just delicious!

Elle said...

What a way to live it up before you start watching what you eat! The whole meal looks fabulous. Right down to the wine!

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

This looks great!