There is more to Italy than Tomato Sauce

Would you believe it’s another of those National Food Days. Like any of us need an excuse to eat delicious foods. Today we have a great assortment of things to celebrate – it’s Cheddar Cheese Day, Italian Food Day and Tortellini Day.

Now I suppose I could have gone ahead and rolled this day into one giant post by including some Cheddar Cheese, but that would have been far too simple. To be honest, I almost missed the boat on the Tortellini. When I was putting my “Tour of Italy” together, I had already decided on the Piccata and the dessert. It was a last minute decision to include a salad.  I was going to go with my favorite Caprese Salad recipe that I’ve shared a time or two before. But then I though, no let’s go with an antipasto of some sort. That’s when the light came on and I remembered a Tortellini Caprese Salad recipe I had found a few years back – the best of both. Yeah.

Ya know, tomorrow’s Valentines Day. Maybe a little Italian? Just saying . . . let’s eat!

Tour of Italy Supper
Tortellini Caprese Salad

Tortellini Caprese Salad (2)

Egg Noodle Chicken Piccata
Simple Steamed Asparagus

Egg Noodle Chicken Piccata

Tiramisu Spring-form Trifle

Italian Tiramisu

Tortellini Caprese Salad
20 oz package refrigerated Cheese Tortellini
2 cups small Tomatoes
8 oz fresh Mozzarella
Basil for garnish if desired
7 oz Basil Pesto

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions for al dente.

While the Tortellini cooks, cut the tomatoes in half and set aside. Cut the Mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside. Pluck the smaller basil leaves for garnish and set aside.

Drain the pasta, then immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Allow the pasta to drain for a few minutes to remove any excess water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.

Add the pesto, tomatoes and cheese. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

This pasta salad is best enjoyed chilled, but is delicious at room temperature.

Egg Noodle Chicken Piccata
3 (6 oz each) boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1/2 cup Flour
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Chicken Stock
3 1/2 tablespoons Capers, drained
2 1/2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Wide Egg Noodles, for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Maintain boil until ready to use.

Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise to create 6 thin breasts. Wrap each breast in plastic wrap, then pound the breast with a meat mallet to 1/4-inch thickness. Unwrap the breast; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken in flour to coat both sides; shake off excess.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken in batches, adding additional oil as needed. Transfer chicken to an ungreased 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish and set aside.

To the now empty skillet, add stock, capers and lemon juice, stirring to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until creamy. Set skillet aside. Add the egg noodles to the pot of boiling water.

Pour sauce from the skillet over chicken. Bake 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Drain the pasta, place in a serving bowl. Place chicken in a rimmed serving platter. Serve together.

Simple Steams Asparagus
1 bunch Asparagus
2 tablespoons Butter
Lemon Juice to taste

Trim Asparagus, discard woody ends. Place in Asparagus steamer with enough water to reach bottom of steam basket. Cook on medium-high heat until tender, about 7 minutes.

While the asparagus steams, melt butter is a small saute pan. Add lemon juice, give the pan a swirl and set aside until ready to use.

Place steamed asparagus on a serving platter. Drizzle with lemon butter and serve.

Tiramisu Spring-form Trifle
3 cups brewed Espresso or Strong Coffee
2 cup Cold Milk
1 box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
8 oz. Mascarpone
1/2 cup Sugar
40 Ladyfingers (depending on size of spring-form pan)
4 tablespoons Dark Rum
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Chocolate shavings, for garnish

Brew 3 cups of Espresso or very strong coffee. Allow brew to cool to room temperature.

Grease bottom and sides of 8 or 9-inch spring-form pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or whisk, beat together very cold milk and vanilla pudding mix. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

In another bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold vanilla pudding into whipped cream until completely combined, then fold in mascarpone and sugar. Set mixture aside.

Cut lady fingers to match the height of your spring-form pan. Set aside.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together espresso coffee and rum. Working quickly, gently dip each cut ladyfinger into espresso mixture for 1 second, then stand around ring of spring-form pan, cut side down. Next layer on bottom of pan with dipped ladyfingers, cutting as needed to make a single even layer.

Pour half the pudding mixture over the ladyfinger layer. Top with another layer of espresso-dipped ladyfingers.

Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture on top.

Refrigerate until filling is firm, at least 6 hours.

Un-mold the spring-form pan. Dust top of the Tiramisu with cocoa powder then garnish as desired with chocolate shavings.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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