Category Archives: Week 3

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 ( and caprese salad, and then moved onto our main course of FOUR different types of pizza ( 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 ( and made a large salad. Finally to top it all off we made 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 ( 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!


Dinner: Homemade Pasta

Homemade pasta ( always turns out delicious, however it’s extremely labor intensive and requires an entire day of cooking. Especially when we decide to make homemade pesto ( to put on it. Since the pasta also requires a good deal of egg yolks without the whites, we also decided to whip up a batch of meringues to go along with it.

Our Reaction:

Pasta making is a slow process, but if you have the time, the end result is totally worth it. The ingredients are quite simple, and after slowly incorporating the wet into the dry to form a slightly sticky dough, we prepared to begin the rolling process. The dough was delicate, as it became thinner and thinner, and longer and longer. However, with lots of flour and gentle handling, we managed not the rip any pieces. We decided to make a thicker pasta, tagliatelle, and after it was cut, it went straight into boiling water to cook away. After it finished cooking we added our freshly made pesto. In order to fill out the meal a bit more, we decided to make it a primavera style dish as well, adding diced tomatoes, steamed peas, and broccoli. The pasta was light and delicious, and the robust flavor of the pesto complimented it along with the fresh vegetables we added.

(you could also add chicken to the pasta, or use this as a side dish to a larger meal)  pasta 2    pasta 1pasta 3    pasta 4

Since the pasta recipe calls for more egg yolks than whites, we decided to make the airy and scrumptious dessert–meringues. Like the pasta, they use only a few ingredients, but end up with wonderful flavor, a great compliment to any meal. We decided to be a bit adventurous in our meringue making, opting to make three different flavors. We started with vanilla, a classic, and then tried out orange. Both flavors tasted wonderful, and looked delightful with their little swirls. The last flavor was chocolate. It tasted great, but didn’t look as nice. The cocoa powder weighed down the otherwise fluffy eggwhites, making the mixture a bit too dense to form stiff peaks. Instead, we made small rounds of chocolate meringues, which, despite looking a bit uglier, tasted great!

merasfhjdhs     Meringdjhgf sd 2  

Shopping: Arthur Avenue

Arthur Avenue is the traditional shopping district of New York City’s Little Italy. Located in the Bronx, and mixed in with a growing Latin population, Arthur Avenue still maintains the feel of a generation, and way of shopping past. Individual stores sell the items you would need for your meal. Delis, cheese shops, and groceries line the streets, interspersed with flower shops and Italian Restaurants. We chose a shop based on a previous recommendation, but also explored the blocks surrounding.

Shopping List:

  • Mozarella (5 balls)
  • Parmigiana (about 2 lbs)

Although the shopping haul was small (high in volume though), it was just what we needed to make our meals feel authentic, and taste even more amazing.

arth ave 1