Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Romantic dinner special: Italian (cucina italiana)

This is the first post of a series of romantic dinners from around the world that I intend to make. The recipes that I will list for these series would sometimes be my own but most of the time I will be linking recipes from other sites or cookbooks. The idea here is to give you ideas of easy and quick and, most importantly, inexpensive dinners `cause there`s no harm in being frugal sometimes! Plus quick, easy and inexpensive recipes would imply that you could make those more often! Special dinners are not just meant for V-day!

This first series, code-named cucina italiana, promises to drag you and your special one to Italy with each course.

Start with something light and fresh - the salad

This caprese salad with a balsamic vinaigrette from Steamy Kitchen is sure to please. This salad is fast to make, requires little ingredients and if you intend to serve pasta (which you surely will), you`re making sure that no carb is added right from the first course.

Caprese salad from Steamy Kitchen
Another salad option is this grilled vegetable salad from Angie`s Pantry. Even though this salad takes a little more time to make than the caprese. It still is a quick recipe with minimal ingredients and is specially ideal if you like grilled vegetables. 

Grilled vegetable salad from Angie`s Pantry
The pasta
I couldn`t possibly not include pasta here and I`ve got 2 quick and easy suggestions.

First, spaghetti alla puttanesca or like Nigella Lawson prefers to call it, the slut`s spaghetti, is a simple and delicious recipe. The name of this dish might also just fit in your dinner`s theme or what`s in reserve for after the dinner! Anyhow, this is a quite recent Italian recipe (invented in the 1950s) which combines saltiness, spiciness and aroma.

A second pasta suggestion could be Nigella Lawson`s pasta alla genovese. The potatoes add a special edge to this pesto sauce and enables the green sauce to stick perfectly to the pasta.

I know there are too much recipe from Nigella Lawson here, but one cannot possibly pass by the goddess of quick and great recipes when doing such a series.

That being said, if you are in a hurry, you can still buy a packet of fresh gnocchi or ravioli and toss in your favourite canned sauce. The thing is, you will have to give the illusion that all this effortless cooking has come from your heart.


I personally cannot possibly imagine a romantic dinner without a dessert. Unless you intend to be the dessert of the evening, you will have to serve one.

The affogato is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a fast Italian dessert. Basically to make an affogato, you just have to pour some hot expresso over some vanilla ice cream. As simple as that!

Another Italian dessert you might go for is the granita, you might substitute the green apple puree in this recipe for some green lime or lemon juice for an authentic Italian flavour.

The decoration
Usually when hosting a themed dinner with your friends or family you would want a quite decadent or over-the-top sort of decoration. For a romantic dinner, it`s quite the contrary. You would want your other one to notice you more than the food. Don`t kill yourself with the decoration.

Image source: Carnival Magic - cucina del capitano table setting

I would recommend a checkered tablecloth on top of which you would display simple white plates, a bread basket, a small candle, your wine and the food, of course. The table might not be glamorous but it sure would be authentic and oh-so-romantic.

So, I only have to wish you a great night and arrivederci!

1 comment:

  1. "You would want your other one to notice you more than the food. Don`t kill yourself with the decoration."

    Rightly said. Bring on the food.