Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Viva Italia!

As mentioned in an earlier post, Adam's New Years resolution for 2013, was to cook dinner one night a week. I typically do most of the cooking, and he is a great help, but he decided that this resolution would be 1. a HUGE help to me and 2. a good way to learn more about cooking. At the beginning of this year, he chose Wednesday nights to be his night to cook. This is week 2 of starting this resolution (he got started a little late, like me).

Tonight, he decided to prepare an Italian feast! Most of you already know that in 2012 we traveled to Italy for 10 days. It was absolutely fantastic...and just as I told him he would, Adam fell in love with Italian food! We both love Italian and even bought a pasta machine after our trip so that we could start making authentic pasta!

So, tonight he decided to prepare a Caprese Salad from Giada DeLaurentis' Everyday Italian cookbook (get it here) and Cacio e Pepe from La Cucina Italiana magazine. AND to top it all off, we opened a bottle of wine we purchased in Italy!

To start, Adam made the dressing for the Caprese Salad, with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and fresh ground black pepper. He set that aside and then sliced tomatoes and mozzarella. Once the tomatoes and mozzarella were plated, he tore leaves of fresh basil and sprinkled them over the tomatoes and cheese. Then topped it all off with the deliciously simple dressing.

After the caprese was complete, he started on the Cacio e Pepe. We learned about this dish prior to our trip to Italy when we watched an episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain was traveling in Italy and met with a friend to sample this wonderful and simple, but complex dish. After seeing that episode, Adam was on a mission to find Cacio e Pepe when we arrived in Italy! He was successful and it was delicious. With only pasta, pasta water, pecorino romano and freshly ground black pepper this dish is simple at the core. However, the flavors are so much more complex than the four ingredients would suggest.

To start, Adam ground black peppercorns in our mortar and pestle. He then grated the pecorino romano, while waiting for his pasta water to boil. He cooked the pasta, then reserved some of the cooking liquid. Then, from there it's quite simple, rotate adding pasta water and pecorino romano, while constantly tossing the pasta to let the cheese coat each strand. At the end, toss together the pasta and the black pepper and serve.

Our meal was delizioso! The caprese was perfect with the fresh taste of summer (which was nice considering this summer weather we're having in January!), the pasta was light, but still filling. It was the perfect saltiness, with a bite from the black pepper. And the wine! Oh the wine, if I closed my eyes, I was back in Italia! Adam did an incredible job! I'm really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with for next Wednesday night!

The evening was truly perfetto and I have to admit, I could really get used to this!!!

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