Monday, 30 September 2013

a romantic italian theme night

I have been wanting to do a theme night for a while now, so I made it part of my September bucket list. As I wanted it to be a romantic evening, I decided it had to have an Italian theme.

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

  1. Toast ciabatta slices on a hot griddle pan for about 3 minutes each side. Leave to cool a little.
  2. 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.
  3. Lightly rub the garlic on both sides of each slice.
  4. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture on each slice of bread and place on serving board or plate.
  5. 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
  1. Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan over a low heat then fry the shallots and walnuts for 2 minutes.
  2. Over a medium heat add the prawns and tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the Marsala wine and cook for another minute.
  4. Pour in the cream and the balsamic vinegar, and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until 'al dente'. Drain and then tip back into the same pan.
  6. 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.
  1. Put the drinking chocolate and milk in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool when dissolved.
  3. Whip the cream in a bowl until you can make soft peaks.
  4. Add the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk for 10 seconds.
  5. 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. 
  6. Share out half of the mascarpone cream between the dishes, to cover the biscuits.
  7. Add layers of biscuits and cream, depending on the dishes, finishing with a layer of the cream.
  8. Chill for one hour.
  9. 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.


  1. These look fantastic Rachel! I must give them a try x

    1. Thank you Gailann. You will love them, they are delicious xx

  2. wow your such a thoughtful and great wife i hope your hubby reciprocates the romance for all your efforts

    1. Awww I just love doing things like this! I will tell him what you said and maybe he might take me out for a meal!! :-) x

  3. Thank you so much :-)

  4. That looks lovely. Italian is my favourite.

    1. Thanks Louise, it taste rather yummy. Italian food is the best :-)

  5. Hi Rachel - that looks fab! Thanks for the recipes - defo want to try out the prawn dish soon. Also, thank you for dropping by my blog and for your lovely comment. Lovely to find your blog because of that! Ax

    1. Aww thank you so much. I love eating Italian style. Thank you too for all your lovely comments, I hope you like the blog :-) x

  6. I am now SO hungry... Perfect, and love the table setting too. xx

    1. Thank you, I love eating Italian food. It is one of life's pleasures! xx

  7. Yum! What a fab idea. Looks lovely. I must try your recipes, especially the one for tirimasu! :-) xx

    1. Thanks Kimmi, I'm sure you would love the tiramisu, it's very yummy :-)

  8. All of these courses look delicious - I'm trying to decide whether to make it a romantic meal for my husband, or just as a treat for myself!

    1. Thank you Michelle. Italian food is great as a treat and as a romantic meal. Enjoy! :-)