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Summer Italian Suggestions?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Having a friend over tomorrow night, nothing special but figured we'd relax on the patio with some Italian food. Something non-seafood, can be cooking inside or out, no biggie there. Maybe some sort of summer-ish pasta? appetizers? I'm not going to go 5 course, but want to whip up something good.
post #2 of 11
Cold pasta salads are great for the summer, I love to use rice shaped Orzo and you can add just about anything. I prefer to throw in roasted red peppers, red onions, fresh green, red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, pancetta (cooked) or salami, grilled chicken, roasted garlic, or roasted eggplant. Fresh herbs add a great flavour, I use fresh basil, mint, and thyme. And tossing it all in olive oil and lemon juice works great. Or you can use other combinations like oil and vinegar.

Also, Gazpacho (a cold soup) is great for hot days, it is Spanish rather than Italian, but I don't feel that it strays far from Italian cuisine.

Melon and prosciutto crostini for appetizers.
post #3 of 11
You still have an aversion to all seafood or what? Thought you were working on that :D
post #4 of 11

1 lb fresh fettucini
2 - large lemons
8-oz heavy cream
3 - 4 Tbs vodka
1 tps finely ground fresh pepper "melange" (see note)
1-inch piece of vanilla bean
Clean and grate the rind of one of the lemons and set aside. Remove the
white pith from the lemon and section or cube the fruit into small pieces.
Juice the second lemon and set aside.

Put the cream, vodka, lemon cubes, pepper and vanilla bean into a heavy,
non-reactive saucepan or skillet and simmer until the sauce has thickened a bit.

Cook the pasta. Remove the sauce from the heat, remove the piece of
vanilla bean, stir in the remaining lemon juice and return the sauce to the
heat for about a minute or two while continually stirring. Add about 2 tsp
grated lemon rind, stir well and pour over the drained pasta. Serve in a
warmed serving dish.

NOTE: You can certainly add more lemon juice to the sauce if you prefer.
If you can get Amalfi coast lemons, or some Feminello lemons, you'll add
measurably to the Italian influence of this dish.

The pepper "melange" is a blend of black, while, green and red peppercorns.
You can probably do just as well with plain black pepper. Make sure the
lemons are pitted. The vodka can be replaced with grappa (a little more
"authentic") or, if you wish, you can leave out all alcohol. The heavy, or
whipping cream, can probably be replaced with half & half, but I've not tried
that. I usually don't make cream sauces but I had some cream and lemons
in the refer and thought about putting something together, and remembered
a similar recipe from a small restaurant in Rome

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Definitely am working on it :) I'm up to "sharing" seafood appetizers with the missus.

Almost ordered some sushi (just tuna nothing special) from our cafeteria yesterday (we have a kickass sushi place come cater in our cafe once in a while, our cafe is really pretty kickass)


looks good and I have all the ingredients :)
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ah, good company tomorrow night which means I can "experiment" and relax little more....more wine for us. :)

Nothing better than coming home on a friday (after cutting the lawn) lighting a fire in the outdoor fire chimenea thing, with a nice bottle of wine (or 2) and a few good things to eat!
post #7 of 11
How about the Caprese salad that was just going around last week , that is italian and sounds fabulous.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
post #8 of 11
Fire up the grill. Get a small zucchini or two, cut in half lengthwise, brush with olive oil. Get a red bell pepper or two, same treatment. Roast on the grill until soft and tender. Meanwhile, boil up some of your favorite pasta, throw a garlic clove or two into the water. Melt a tablespoon or two or thirty of butter, depending on whether or not your doctor is looking.

When the veggies are done, remove from the grill. Lay some strips of cheddar or mozzarella or gruyere or fontina or whatever is on hand over the zucchini halves, keep warm, letting the cheese slowly melt. A dash of oregano and a grind or two of black pepper won't hurt. Dice up the bell pepper, toss with the pasta and melted butter, top with grated parm. Plate the zucchini halves alongside, pour a bit more wine and enjoy the evening.


ps: Don't forget the anchovies :eek:
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
found this website...I think I'm going to make a few things from here...

Italian Food Forever

this looks pretty good.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Another item I'd like to throw into the equation...

I keep my change in a jar at work....and when it fills up (usually a couple times a year), I take it to the coinstar machine next to the liquor store, and have vowed to spend it all on wine. I usually like to get a 1 really nice bottle.... change jar day! So if anyone can recommend a nice bottle of wine (red) that is pretty easy to find (it's not a real "special" liquor store), that would be awesome....probably have about 75$ to spend this time around.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok, me excitement has turned into a feast.

I think I'm going to do the Caponata on Garlic Toasts

then a salad with some goat breaded/broiled cheese

then maybe a fettuccine with some asparagus, tomatoes, lemon (but no cream) and maybe I'll throw some salmon filet in there for the missus. maybe some dill and mushrooms that i have in the fridge I need to get rid of
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