Posted in Cooking, Pasta, Savory

The Perfect Weeknight Italian Date Night

An Italian Date Night Meal

Things have been pretty busy lately. Bobatt and I were missing each other, so we had a middle-of-the-week date night. A quick Italian-inspired meal, a bottle of wine and a decadent dessert were just the thing. Oh yeah, and good company. We topped off our date with a little television – the long-awaited season 5 premiere of Mad Men.

Pretty flowers to help erase the work day

Dinner came together in under 30 minutes. Spaghetti tossed with a simple pomodoro sauce and parmesan. An easy arugula salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, topped with cantaloupe and prosciutto. Paired with a bottle of Italian red wine, this was really a perfect weeknight meal. The dessert, Nutella Brownie, was the best way to end the night.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro
Arugula Salad with Canteloupe and Proscuitto
Dinner
Dessert
My unintentional nod to the Mad Men premiere. Pearls, lace and an apron.

Spaghetti al Pomodoro and Arugula Proscuitto Canteloupe Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

Pasta

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Basil, handful
Paremsan, for garnish

Salad

2 or 3 handfuls of arugula
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 slices proscuitto
1/2 canteloupe, seeded, sliced and peel removed

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until clear. Add the garlic and sauté until lightly browned (but not burned).

2. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the sauce for 10 – 15 minutes. Chiffonade (cut into long, thin ribbons) the basil and add to the sauce in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, add salt – 1 tsp salt per four cups of water. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook until al dente (about 8 – 10 minutes, but it really varies so watch it closely).

4. When the pasta is ready, pour into a colander. Do not rinse – the starch helps the sauce stick to the pasta.

5. Return the drained pasta to the pot, then toss with the pomodoro sauce. Place the dressed pasta in a serving bowl and garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

5. In a serving bowl, add the arugula. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with the proscuitto and canteloupe slices.

6. Serve both dishes family style on the table. Dish up, pour a glass of wine. Enjoy a little bite of Italy.

(Adapted from dishes I enjoyed at Dolce Sapori in Kensington in Calgary – I think I got it pretty close!)

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