Monday, August 11, 2014

Homemade Italian Meal

You may have seen here that I made homemade tomato sauce last week! Today, I want to share where that inspiration came from. When we visited Italy this past summer, we had the most amazing meals. Seriously. From the pasta, to the pizza, and even the sandwiches (which were usually as big as my face- see example here). We literally ate our way through every city we visited.

Rome was our last city to go to, and Chris's mom put us in contact with a good friend of hers who she wanted us to meet up with. Her and her husband are from Italy, so we were excited to get the chance to go out to eat with some local Italians. We were even more excited when we called and she said they wanted to have us over for dinner at their place instead, and that she would cook for us. Ummm..yes, I would love a homemade Italian meal. Thank you.

Let me just say…it was one of the best meals we had the whole trip. She made a fresh tomato & mozzerella salad, rigatoni with homemade tomato sauce that was topped with basil, and grilled eggplant slices.

They have the most beautiful home, and we ate on their terrace that overlooks Rome. It was an amazing night- we are so glad we connected with them and went to see them! We had a great view of the city, good Italian wine, a delicious meal, and good conversation. What more you could ask for? Here are some pics of the night:

So I left their house determined to attempt my own homemade tomato sauce- you can so tell the different between homemade and canned. We loved the meal so much, I told Chris I was going to try and recreate it for ourselves at home. 

The first step was figuring out how to make the homemade sauce. I bought fresh tomatoes from the Farmer's Market, found this recipe and decided to give it a go. FYI- I did not have 4 hours to let my sauce simmer, being that I made it on a weeknight...during the first week of school. Am I crazy? Yes. Instead,  I brought it to a boil, reduced the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Then I added the paste and let it simmer for an hour. I cut the simmer time by a lot, and it still turned out fabulous. 

I made the tomato, mozzarella salad for us to snack on while the sauce was simmering. To make, just chop grape tomatoes in half, cut cubes of fresh mozzarella, sprinkle fresh oregano, salt & pepper to taste, and then mix it all together! 

I got an eggplant from my mother-in-law's garden, sliced it into discs and brushed them with olive oil. I used Italian seasoning to flavor them, and Chris put the discs straight on the grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Yum. 

I was so pleased with the meal. It was delicious in every way! We didn't have the view we had in Italy, or a good bottle of Italian wine on hand, but we did have the yummy food and good conversation. 

And of course, we had to end our "recreated Italian night" with gelato. That was store bought. The sauce wore me out.

Have you ever re-created a meal you had on a vacation or trip?! Please share! Happy Monday & thanks for reading!