Quick & Easy Date Night Recipes - A Night in Italy
Quick and Easy Date Night Recipes to Cook at Home:
A Night in Italy
by Katie Wilson from CraftyGirlCreates
Bold flavors and Italian classics make a romantic night for two into a night you’ll remember. Tonight’s menu is best paired with a medium-bodied white wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc; but the most important ingredient for tonight is love.
As with all recipes read through before starting, here we have a panna cotta that needs 6 hours chilling - get it done in the morning ready for when you get home!
Appetizer: Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar & Oil
Entrée: Basil Pesto Chicken Penne & Roasted Italian Vegetables
Dessert: Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries & Honey
Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar & Oil
An Italian classic, this appetizer salad is easily to assemble, as well as colorful.
2 vine-ripened tomatoes
½ pound of fresh mozzarella
About ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
2 TB aged Balsamic vinegar
2 TB good quality extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt
-Carefully cut tomatoes & fresh mozzarella into ¼ inch thick slices. Season with salt and pepper.
-Stack basil leaves together, and roll. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice basil into small shreds.
-For each serving, alternate slices of tomatoes and mozzarella on a serving plate. Top each serving with half of the basil shreds.
-Drizzle each serving with 1 TB Balsamic vinegar and 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil.
Basil Pesto Chicken Penne & Roasted Italian Vegetables
This entrée is big on flavor, and is a lighter Italian option – Make sure to leave plenty of room for dessert.
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
¼ cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated Pecorino cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 TB vegetable oil
½ pound penne pasta, cooked and drained
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-In a food processor, pulse together the basil, garlic and pine nuts.
-Slowly incorporate the extra-virgin olive oil, blending to combine.
-Remove the bowl from the food processor, and gently stir in Pecorino cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Set aside.
-In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
-Cut each boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1 inch chunks.
-Add to heated skillet, cooking until no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes (or until a food thermometer inserted in the chicken reads at least 165 degrees)
-After chicken has cooked, turn heat to medium-low and add in pesto and penne pasta. Stir to combine.
-Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese, and serve.
Roasted Italian Vegetables
Roasting is a simple way to bring out complex flavors.
¼ pound fresh green beans, washed & ends trimmed
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch strips
1 large Portobello mushroom cap, cut into small chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup red onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
2 TB vegetable oil
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, and set aside.
-In a large bowl, combine green beans, yellow bell pepper, Portobello mushroom, garlic and red onion.
-Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano, and stir to combine.
-Drizzle with vegetable oil, and stir to fully coat.
-Place on parchment lined tray and roast for 12-15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and slightly caramelized.
Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries & Honey
Smooth and silky, you can serve this with any type of fresh berries you’d like.
½ cup whole milk
1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin
3 TB honey
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 ½ TB sugar
Fresh berries, for garnish
1 TB honey, for garnish
-In a small bowl, place ½ cup whole milk. Carefully sprinkle 1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin over top, and let sit, without stirring, for 3-5 minutes.
-Add milk & gelatin mixture into a heavy saucepan, and stir over medium heat until gelatin dissolves, making sure the milk doesn’t boil – about 5 minutes.
-Add cream, 3 TB honey, and sugar. Stir for about 7 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.
-Remove from the heat, and pour mixture equally into two wine or parfait glasses.
-Allow to cool slightly, and then place in refrigerator and chill until set, about 6 hours.
-When ready to serve, garnish with fresh berries of your choice tossed with 1 TB honey.
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