Following the success of Middle Eastern week, I decided to try the theme week again – this time it was Italian!
While Italian week didn’t turn out quite as phenomenally as Middle Eastern week, it was still pretty tasty. I think part of the problem with Italian week was the cookbook I used. It was a cheap $4 Borders book. The recipes were all just somewhat bland and not the easiest to follow. I ended up adding a lot of spices.
But since I love Italian food so much, you can bet I’ll be trying this again with the help of a different cookbook!
Dinner No. 1: Polenta con Funghi e Fagiolini Verdi con Pomodori
Mushroom Polenta and Green Beans with Tomatoes
For the first dish of the week, this dish wasn’t too impressive. The combination of mushrooms and polenta was a little odd, but the green beans were rather good!
Dinner No. 2: Scaloppine di Vitello con Marsala e Asparagi alla Milanese
Veal with Marsala and Asparagus with Eggs
We definitely liked the asparagus-egg combination of this dish, and the veal was definitely a nice change of pace. The Marsala sauce didn’t quite turn out though. But since I always love a good Marsala dish, I’ll certainly be trying it out again.
Dinner No. 3: Pasta e Ceci
Pasta and Chickpea Soup
Well I almost botched this one up entirely. The recipe called for dried chickpeas soaked over night and then cooked for about 2 hours. Well, I decided to go exercise in the other room while the chickpeas cooked and when I came back the water had all boiled off and the chickpeas had started to burn. Fortunately, I had a can of chickpeas in the cupboard, so I got those cooking up instead.
The soup also contained a bit of bacon, onion, garlic, and of course pasta. Not too much as far as spice goes though. As I sampled the flavor while it cooked, the spice levels definitely left something to be desired, so I added quite a bit of extra salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic power. It ended up having more of a mac-n-cheese consistency rather than a liquid soup. But the good news is that it was pretty tasty in the end.
Dinner No. 4: Merluzzo al Forno e Brocoletti Saltati con Aglio
Baked Cod with Garlic Mayonnaise and Broccoli with Oil and Garlic
The cod came out pretty well considering that I substituted a caper spread for the recipe’s anchovy spread. I was a bit unsure of the homemade mayo, but it was a nice complement to the cod. The broccoli (I used broccolini) was pretty great, covered in bits of garlic.
Dinner No. 5: Lasagne al Forno con Funghi e Pomodori
Baked Vegetable Lasagna with Mushrooms and Tomatoes
The lasagna though, was definitely the star of the week! It was quite a bit of work to put it all together, but it came out even better than I imagined. I even made my own “bechamel” sauce! I put bechamel in quotes because it probably wasn’t technically correct. ;)
So what’s the plan for next week? I’m still deciding. I don’t have any more international cookbooks (though, I have a few on order!), so I will either be running to the bookstore later tonight or taking a short break from theme week. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to find out soon!