An Italian-inspired Valentines Day #ExpediaWorldOnAPlate
Rich and I don’t tend to make a big deal of Valentines Day. As far as we are both concerned we shouldn’t have to wait for one day a year to make a fuss of each other. However, Expedia got in contact with me and offered to send me a hamper of goodies to make a romantic meal with as part of their World on a Plate challenge. The only decision I had to make was which country would I feel most inspired by: Italy or France?
It could only be Italy! Why? Italians love their food, and love really is at the heart of their meals. What could be more romantic than sharing food together? Whether it be a huge plate of antipasti, a couple of slices of pizza or that famous pile of spaghetti in Lady and the Tramp? Italy is a country that I really love. I have visited Venice, Rome, Naples, Florence and Sorrento. Very different cities, but all full of amazing food.
I wanted to put together a meal that had all my favourite things about Italian food together. Firstly, a generous antipasti platter including olives, artichokes, bruschetta and Italian meats.
The main course was based on spaghetti puttanesca, however I replaced the spaghetti with a truffle-infused fettuccine. I made the puttanesca sauce by gently frying off sliced garlic cloves and red chillies and then adding a couple of handfuls of ripe cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, a few anchovy fillets, sliced black olives and some grated lemon zest. I left this to simmer for a few minutes and then threw in a few basil leaves before adding in the cooked pasta.
For dessert, it had to be ice cream. I remember vividly the amazing gelato I ate in Sorrento – a huge mound of creamy ice cream in a cone, which was so big that it started to melt in the warm April weather and I had to keep pausing from eating it, to lick off the trickles of melted cream from my hand. I made a simple vanilla ice cream which could then be topped with either crushed meringue (well, I had egg whites left over from making the ice cream so it seemed foolish not to use them to make meringue!) or Italian almond biscuits, or both!
I was sent a beautiful slate cheeseboard from The Just Slate Company so I obviously had to complete the meal with an Italian cheeseboard including dolcelatte, taleggio and grana padana cheese.
No romantic meal is complete without something good to drink, and what better than a couple of glasses of prosecco? I was even sent a beautiful bottle stopper from The Just Slate Company, however, anyone who knows me will no that if given a bottle of prosecco, I never have use for a bottle stopper!
Disclaimer: I was sent the hamper of food to inspire me for this post, and was also compensated for the ingredients, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.