Whether a candle-lit dinner for two or a dinner party with friends, your wallet won’t object to this Italian style four-course feast. The following will generously serve four guests.
Course one Stuffed Mushrooms 2 cups fresh spinach 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 20 medium mushroom caps Olive oil Preheat oven to 375 F. Steam spinach, drain and purée in blender. In a pan mix spinach, garlic, Parmesan, butter and nutmeg, covered on low heat. Pour olive oil in a small bowl and roll bottoms of the caps in oil until saturated. Place caps on baking sheet. Stuff mushrooms with spinach paste. Bake in oven for 10 minutes.
Course two Spicy Italian Zuppe 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage 1 red onion, chopped ¾ cup celery, chopped 1 cup mushrooms, sliced 2 tablespoons salted butter ¾ cup fresh parsley, chopped 3 cups chicken broth 3 medium potatoes, cubed 16 oz. can garbanzo beans, undrained 1 teaspoon sage Parmesan cheese Brown the meat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Drain grease and set aside. In a pan, sauté onion, celery, mushrooms and butter for 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Place the mixture in saucepan with sausage. Combine parsley, chicken broth, potatoes, beans and sage. Simmer for 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Divide into individual servings layered with Parmesan cheese.
Course three Wine-Infused Chicken Pasta 2 lbs. thin boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces ¼ cup flour Black pepper, ground 4 tablespoons salted butter 4 tablespoons olive oil 4 cloves garlic, minced 6 oz. can pitted olives, drained 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced 26 oz. can stewed tomatoes 2 tablespoons capers, drained ¼ cup parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon basil 1 cup white wine Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll chicken in flour and pepper. Sauté in pan with butter and olive oil until light brown. Grease an oven-safe pan and place chicken inside. Sauté garlic, olives and mushrooms for five minutes. Add tomatoes, capers, parsley, basil and wine and boil for five minutes. Combine sauce with chicken and bake for 30 minutes.
Course four Zesty Berries in Whipped Cream 4 cups fresh berries 3 tablespoons fresh basil 3 tablespoons fresh mint A splash of Limoncello liqueur ½ cup heavy whipping cream Lemon zest Mix berries, basil, mint and Limoncello. Place in individual servings and top with sweetened whipping cream. Zest lemon atop whipping cream.
Be sure to serve the following items with the main entrée: Garlic Bread Play up the food presentation by serving the bread in a non-handle basket tucked away in a white towel. Chardonnay
Any of the following would be an excellent wine pairing: 2006 Oak Knoll Chardonnay Unoaked A lightly scented aroma complements all aspects of the meal with a smooth finish 2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven Hills This smooth treat gives off hints of citrusy pineapple hints 2006 Rex Hill Oregon Chardonnay Scents of candied fruits reach the palette with brief acidity Setting the Table for Success Adding a white cloth, a simple white candle and a colorful flower arrangement will set an elegant tone to the evening. When expecting a sizable party, create place-holders using past wine corks with a name card stuffed into a slit.
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