The craving for a full-course Italian meal started to hit me when I began reminiscing our honeymoon in Italy last year. Perhaps in a festive mood, I set up a traditional Italian meal from A to Z. That night we started with an aperitivo and antipasto altogether – a white wine with salami and hams. Then off we had the first course, primo in Italian – a seafood pasta!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 l chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
- 300 g spaghetti, roughly broken
- 240 g pack frozen seafood mix, defrosted
- handful of parsley leaves, chopped, and lemon wedges to serve
- Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, then cook the onion and garlic over a medium heat for 5 mins until soft. Add the paprika, tomatoes and stock, then bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat to a simmer, stir in the pasta and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the pasta from sticking. Stir in the seafood, cook for 3 minutes more until it’s all heated through and the pasta is cooked, then season to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
It wasn’t over yet, of course. We had to eat the way the traditional Italians do. After having that delicious pasta as first course, we went on for a secondo with a contorno (side dish) that goes along. I prepared saltimbocca alla Romana with sautéed vegetables.
Saltimbocca alla Romana
4 x 150g veal escalopes
8 sage leaves
8 slices of prosciutto
2 tbsp butter
- Place the veal escalopes on a chopping board, leaving a little space between them. Cover with clingfilm and, using your fists or a rolling pin, bash them out until they are about 5mm thick, then discard the clingfilm. Season both sides of the flattened veal with a little black pepper (there’s no need for salt as the prosciutto is quite salty). Lay 2 sage leaves flat on each piece of veal, then place 2 pieces of prosciutto on top to cover the meat, and fold over the sides to heaten up.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Add 2 escalopes to the pan and fry for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. When done, remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Fry the other 2 escalopes in the same way then remove to the plate, cover with foil and set aside.
- Put the pan back on the heat, add the remaining butter and the marsala and simmer for 1 minute until you have a lovely sweet, glossy sauce. Serve the saltimbocca with pasta, polenta or boiled or roast potatoes, and lemon wedges to squeeze over.
Formaggi, as always with red wine, yet after those meals I’d still say, “I still have room for a dessert!” And a digestive drink to boot! So, a tiramisu was a nice dolce and a sip of amaretto as digestif finished the night.