Mezze Italiano

Normally when I think of small dishes it is as tapas & my time in Spain, but really you could do it with any cuisine! Italy has cichetti, and I decided to do my own take on it! Italian food is always close to my heart & warms me up on cold days. This is great for a movie night in.

So I tried to create a roast vibe with the stuffed courgettes, balsamic roasted peppers, and then added some carbs with a spicy sundried tomato pesto pasta & garlic bread. Easy to make, really delicious & warming on a cold evening. Trust me it looks a lot harder than it is!

Italian Date for Two

mezze italiano

Serve with: Your favourite garlic bread, rocket/arugula salad

Ingredients: Pasta

  • 1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup toasted pinenuts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated veggie Parmesan
  • couple of shakes of red pepper flakes
  • 200g of your favourite pasta

Ingredients: Roasted Peppers

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Ingredients: Stuffed Courgettes

  • two courgettes/zucchinis, cleaned, topped & tailed, and sliced in half lengthwise
  • veggie parmiggiano
  • pinenuts
  • 3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Method

  1. Get your oven heated up to 200˚C/400˚F. Take the courgettes, spoon out the insides & put to one side. Once the oven is heated up, take your bell peppers whole, drizzle on some olive oil, salt and pepper, and put in a baking tray to roast for about 30 minutes or until getting charred on the outside. Add your courgettes for the last 10 minutes to soften them up. Take the tops off the peppers, take the seeds out and cut into strips. Set aside the peppers & reheat if needed. Drizzle the peppers with balsamic vinegar/glaze right before serving.
  2. Get the insides of the courgettes, take out a frying pan, pop some olive oil in, and add the insides along with the onions, tomatoes & garlic. After about 5 minutes, add the herbs in. Cook through until translucent & smelling nice. Add these to the courgette outside, top with toasted pine nuts & cheese (cheese is optional). Put this back into the oven and crisp on top. Probably about 10-15 minutes.
  3. stuffed courgettes
  4. Make your spicy pesto! Blend the sun-dried tomatoes and the oil they came in, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, to taste, plus the basil in your food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Make sure everything is incorporated. Set aside. This can be done a day in advance if you want.
  5. Get the pasta going. Get a large pan out, boil your water, salt it, and then throw them in. Cook until al dente, drain & then set aside. Mix your in pesto & warm through before serving.
  6. Make the garlic bread according to the package.
  7. Serve everything together & enjoy! Goes great with a red wine

balsamic pepper pesto pasta mezze italiano stuffed courgettes

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