Who doesn’t love Italian food? You know how they do it in Italy, where simplicity and quality are the only rules in all the books. At any regular Italian kitchen table, simple dishes made with high quality ingredients and a lot of passion, rule the menu. While we can’t literally live like Italians, we can certainly eat like them. Bring the taste of Italy to your dining table with these easy-to-make recipes for a 3-course Italian table spread!
Also read: 15-Minute Lasagna In A Pan!
Course 1: Salads and appetizers. This crisp and fresh salad paired with garlic bread makes for the perfect start to a wholesome Italian meal.
Caprese Salad With Garlic Bread:
1 large tomato
1 block of fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cup basil leaves
Olive oil (as needed)
Balsamic vinegar (as needed)
Salt and pepper to taste
Packaged garlic bread
Method: Roughly chop the basil leaves and slice the tomato and mozzarella cheese into ¼ inch-thick slices. Toss the ingredients in a large salad bowl starting with the tomatoes, then add the mozzarella, and finally add the basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good shake. Finally, top it off with some olive oil and vinegar. And that’s about it! Serve immediately, with garlic bread.
Course 2: The mains! After all what’s an Italian meal without the classic margherita pizza?
The Classic Margherita
1 tin canned tomatoes
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
Fresh pizza dough (Try this recipe: How To Make Homemade Pizza Base)
8 ounce mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup, fresh basil leaves
Method: Preheat the oven on its full temperature for 1 hour before baking the pizzas. Start to prepare your pizza sauce, pound tomatoes in a food processor until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Your pizza sauce is ready in a jiffy! Next, sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and place your dough on it. Using a rolling pin, stretch your dough to a thin 10-inch circle. Spread a ladleful of your sauce on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around the circumference. Then sprinkle the mozzarella over the sauce, generously. Place the pizza in the oven and bake until golden and crisp (2-3 minutes should be fine). Sprinkle some finely chopped basil and serve immediately.
Also read: Stir up a healthy sizzler in 30 minutes
This scaloppini is nothing short of Italian perfection on a plate.
Chicken Scaloppini In Lemon-Basil Glaze
2 large chicken breasts, sliced into two
1 tsp poultry seasoning of your choice (white pepper, oregano, rosemary)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 and ¾ cups chicken broth
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped basil
Method: Wash and clean the chicken breasts and slice them in half, lengthwise. Wrap the four pieces of chicken loosely in a sheet of plastic wrap and use a wooden spatula to flatten them. Remove and place them on a plate, now sprinkle with poultry seasoning and salt and pepper. Next, coat the chicken carefully with the flour. In a large non-stick skillet or pan, heat the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the chicken one by one, and fry on low flame, until they are golden brown. Remove the chicken slices and place them on a serving platter. Now for the glaze! Add the chicken broth to the same pan and cook it over high heat until it reduces by half and thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley and basil and let it simmer for a minute or two. Pour the glaze over the fried chicken and serve with bread or freshly made pasta al dente. (Check out this recipe for homemade pasta: Make Fresh Homemade Pasta In 30 Mins Without Pasta Machine )
Course 3: Dessert? Yes, please! The meal isn’t over in Italy until you wash it down with something sweet. Like these, for example…
Strawberries In Balsamic Vinegar
4 cups strawberries, each sliced in four
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
A pinch of black pepper
Method: Add all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix everything thoroughly. Divide into small glasses and serve immediately, or refrigerate for one hour before serving.
1 cup freshly brewed espresso
2 tbsp sugar plus ½ cup extra
1 cup mascarpone cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream
20 ladyfinger bread
Method: In a flat bowl, pour the freshly brewed espresso and add 2 tbsp sugar to make it sweet. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream cheese with the vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. In another bowl, whisk the whipping cream and sugar using an electric mixer on high speed, until the mixture forms soft peaks. Now fold the whipped cream with the cream cheese gently and combine well. Now comes the fun part! Dip each ladyfinger into the sweetened espresso and arrange on the base of a medium sized baking dish. Ensure to soak the bread only for a few seconds and be quick or else your ladyfingers will break. Once you’ve covered the entire base of the dish then spoon a large dollop of the cream cheese filling and smooth it out with a spatula. Repeat with another layer of soaked ladyfingers and finish with the rest of the filling. Grate some dark chocolate and cocoa powder on top and refrigerate for an hour or two.