On the first official day of summer, I went to the fruit and vegetable market downtown. Oh, there were so many great things! As I meandered around, I was inspired to make some delicious and classic Italian dishes for dinner.
I started with a Caprese Salad, which is now being called insalata di tre colore (three color salad), as the official salad of Italy for it's 150th anniversary (it's a green, white and red salad=patriotic). If you are not familiar with the insalata Caprese, it is a very simple arrangement of sliced tomato, mozarella di buffala, fresh basil and olive oil.
Next up is the official dish of Genoa: le troffie al pesto. Le troffie are small, hand-rolled pasta twists, typical for this region. Basilico di Prá is a type of amazingly flavorful basil that comes from a town called Prá and everyone talks about how great pesto di Prá is. So, when I found a freshly made tub of Pesto di Prá, I had to give it a try. No--I didn't make this pesto. But I was ready to doctor it up because pre-made sauces are so often disappointing.
No doctoring necessary--this was amazing pesto! Mmm, I could eat this everyday...
After my filling two courses, there was one course left. For dessert, another classic: l'affogato. Again, simple, like most Italian dishes, yet oh so goooood. L'affogato is a dish of gelato, served with a shot of hot espresso to be poured over the top.
Affogato means 'drowned' and that is exactly what you do to the gelato--you drown it in caffé. This renders it creamy, bitter espresso and sweet vanilla goodness. You can make espresso at home the Italian way with an inexpensive caffetiera.
So simple, so good. Buon appetitto!