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Friday, February 27 2009

We'll Cook the Food, You'll Lose the Weight!

If you would like to plan a romantic Italian dinner for you and your loved one, then that does not mean that you have to get in the car and drive off to the Italian restaurant across town. Instead, why not try your hand at some Italian cooking at home?

Here are two easy courses that you can whip up in your own kitchen to surprise your loved ones with a romantic Italian dinner for two. Finish the meal off with tiramisu, gelato, or other Italian dessert.

First course

For the first course of your romantic Italian dinner, why not try some pasta fagioli? This soup is a classic at fine Italian restaurants, and can be accompanied by garlic bread or rolls. You will need:

• 6 ounces of smoked bacon, diced

• 1 Cup onions, diced

• 1 Cup carrots, diced

• 1 Cup celery, diced

• A 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

• Two 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans, drained

• 1 Quart beef broth

• 2 Cups water

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 Cup dried pasta (ditalini is preferred, but you can also use elbow macaroni)

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 Tablespoons savory, minced

• 1 Tablespoon sage leaves, chopped

• 1 teaspoon salt

• ½ teaspoon black pepper

• Parmesan cheese

To prepare the soup, start by cooking the bacon until it is lightly browned and then drain on a paper towel. Set aside two tablespoons of the drippings and discard the rest. Pour the saved drippings into a stock pot and add the vegetables, cooking on medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add in the canned vegetables, broth, water, and bay leaves, bring to a simmer, and allow to cook for a half hour. Remove the bay leaves and half the beans. Puree half the beans and then return them to the pot, bringing the entire mixture to a boil before reducing back down to medium.

Add in the pasta, seasoning, and bacon and allow to cook 10-15 minutes or until pasta is done, stirring frequently. Garnish with cheese.

Second Course

The second course of your romantic Italian dinner can be chicken piccata. If you would like, you can serve this over noodles or rice.
You will need:

• 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

• 3 Cups of vegetable oil

• ½ Cup all purpose flour

• 2 eggs

• ¼ cup water

• ½ teaspoon salt

• ¼ teaspoon black pepper

• 1/3 Cup lemon juice

• 1 Cup Italian white wine

• 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon

• ½ Cup hot water

• 2 Tablespoons corn starch

• 2 Tablespoons cold water

• ¼ Cup fresh lemon thyme leaves

• 1Tablespoon capers

Remove the tendons and fat from the chicken and then pound flat. Cut into two inch pieces. Heat the oil in a large pan. Combine flour, eggs, water, salt, and pepper in a bowl, use to coat the chicken. Fry chicken until golden brown, drain on a paper towel.

For the sauce, heat the lemon juice and wine in a small pan. Dissolve the bouillon in hot water and then add to the mixture. Make a paste with the cold water and corn starch, add to the pan. Whisk continuously as you heat the sauce to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer until sauce has thickened.

Add in the chicken pieces and cook for about five minutes to reheat. Remove from heat and stir in lemon thyme, sprinkle with capers. Serve. This is an easy romantic Italian dinner that you can serve tonight for your loved one.

Anna Fiori writes food related articles for the Italian Traditional Food website at

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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