I decorated the table with a red checked cloth to make it look authentic. I added candles and a rosemary plant. You can not have an Italian meal without Prosecco, it is a perfect accompaniment.
With olive bread and olives too, this is a winner.
Starter - Bruschetta with tomato and basil.
Ingredients (for 2)
4 slces (2cm) ciabatta loaf
250g small plum tomatoes
5 fresh basil leaves torn
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove halved
- Toast ciabatta slices on a hot griddle pan for about 3 minutes each side. Leave to cool a little.
- Quarter the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Tear in the basil then add the oil, salt and pepper. Mix together, cover and leave for a few minutes.
- Lightly rub the garlic on both sides of each slice.
- Place 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture on each slice of bread and place on serving board or plate.
- Drizzle with the remaining juices, then enjoy.
Main - Tagliatelle with prawns and creamy Marsala sauce.
15g salted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
30g walnuts chopped
150g uncooked prawns, peeled
5 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
30ml Marsala wine
125ml double cream
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
200g fresh egg tagliatelle (shop bought or recipe here)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan over a low heat then fry the shallots and walnuts for 2 minutes.
- Over a medium heat add the prawns and tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the Marsala wine and cook for another minute.
- Pour in the cream and the balsamic vinegar, and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until 'al dente'. Drain and then tip back into the same pan.
- Pour in the cream sauce with the parsley. Toss everything together for about 30 seconds and serve.
Dessert - Tiramisu
3 tablespoons drinking chocolate
150ml of semi-skimmed milk
150ml whipping cream
125g mascarpone cheese.
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 lady finger (trifle) biscuits
2 chocolate flakes, or grated chocolate, to decorate.
- Put the drinking chocolate and milk in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Pour into a bowl and leave to cool when dissolved.
- Whip the cream in a bowl until you can make soft peaks.
- Add the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk for 10 seconds.
- Dip 4 biscuits into the chocolate milk for a couple of seconds on each side and put one on the base of each desert dish.
- Share out half of the mascarpone cream between the dishes, to cover the biscuits.
- Add layers of biscuits and cream, depending on the dishes, finishing with a layer of the cream.
- Chill for one hour.
- Serve with chocolate flakes on each dessert.
Of course, you need some music while you dine. You can have the usual cheesy music, but why not try something a little different like Anna Tatangelo, keeping the Italian theme but making it a little more contemporary.
We finished the night off with Limoncello and a favourite film of mine, 'Under The Tuscan Sun.' It's so perfect and dreamy, just right for an Italian theme night.
Have a great Monday.