Dinner: Italian Feast

Our original plan to have a quick meal of a few different types of pizza disappeared quickly; there were so many different Italian treats that we wanted to make that we kept adding on and on until we had an entire feast. We started with a few tomato-ey appetizers, bruschetta on toasted bread (https://sarahandrachel13.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/recipe-bruschetta/) and caprese salad, and then moved onto our main course of FOUR different types of pizza (https://sarahandrachel13.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/recipe-quick-pizza-dough/). We made a simple tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil pizza and then moved on to more complicated ones; a mixed vegetable and a pesto. Our final pizza was by far the most interesting, half tuna and half lemon– two specialty pizzas that we each learned during visits to various parts of Italy. To go along with our pizzas, we also attempted ricotta gnocchi (https://sarahandrachel13.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/recipe-ricotta-gnocchi/) and made a large salad. Finally to top it all off we made raspberry ice cream (https://sarahandrachel13.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/recipe-raspberry-ice-cream/)– not exactly what you call a quick meal!

Our Reaction:

Our meal started with the appetizers, or antipasto since we’re in Italian mode. Both the bruschetta and the caprese salad were very quick and easy to make and complemented each other well. We were amazed by the amount of tomato we ended up using, but the fresh flavors kept our plates feeling well balanced. We made a bit too much, but there were no complaints from our dinners. It was a nice light beginning to our meal.

bruschetta     caprese

Then, we moved onto the main meal. We started everyone off with a mixed green salad, and some fresh ricotta gnocchi. That process was not quite as simple as the antipasto. The dough was extremely wet, and no matter how much flour we added, we couldn’t get it to roll the way the original recipe asked. So, instead of scrapping the whole thing, we decided to get slightly creative and found ways to make it work. It wasn’t entirely perfect, but we all enjoyed it, especially considering it was significantly lighter than potato gnocchi. Although we struggled a bit along the way, and the resulting pasta wasn’t the prettiest, it did taste great!

gnocchi 1          gnocchi 2

The pizzas were definitely the main part of our meal. We started them off a few hours before dinner so that we could precook the crusts . All went smoothly, and we even decided to add some of our homemade pesto (https://sarahandrachel13.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/recipe-pesto/) to incorporate a bit more flavor into the dough. The next step was placing the toppings. We made four pizzas, and decided to have a different flavor on each one. We decided that we had to include the classic tomato, mozzarella, basil pizza. Our next pizza was a roasted red peppers, onions, and mushroom pizza for the vegetable lovers among us. Next, we had to have a pesto pizza so that we could use up our leftover (and amazing tasting) pesto. Our last pizza was a bit of a mish-mosh. Both of us have been to Italy, and we each discovered unique pizza flavors while we were there–one a Sicilian tuna fish pizza, the other a Tuscan lemon white pizza. Since we had only one pizza left to top, we decided to compromise, each claiming half of the last pie for our specialty flavor. The end results were absolutely delicious. We did slightly burn the bottom of one of the pizzas, so make sure to cook them for just a few minutes, but otherwise they were scrumptious. In the end there were only five remaining slices from the four pies combined!

pizza 1     pizza 2 pizza 3     pizza 4 pizza 5 pizza 6

To end our meal, we had raspberry ice cream, which we called gelato, prepared the day before. At first we were planning on making a more authentic ice cream or gelato, but because we didn’t want to use raw egg yolks, and we didn’t have any heavy cream on hand, we went with a lighter “ice milk” recipe. Raspberries added a bit more flavor, too. We had to let the ice cream defrost a bit because it got quite solid in the freezer. The texture was not perfect, but it still tasted yummy, and our families enjoyed it.

ice cream

Our simple pizza night transformed into an extremely large, delicious Italian feast and everyone enjoyed it immensely!

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