Summer time… you might associate it with beaches, sunflowers and flip-flops. But if some typical summer dish does not also pop up in your mind, you are not human! And, let’s be honest, the Italian cuisine, with its fresh, healthy, and bright-colored ingredients, is easily the most appealing option for summery dishes in the sunny season.
Extra virgin Olive oil, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, Parmesan, prosciutto, lemon, parsley…the list of these fresh, seasonal ingredients is long. Once you have the ingredients, you are faced with the question of how to choose among many different recipes and, at the same time, make sure that they are carried out the authentic, appropriate way. For this, the Select Italy team steps in and provides you with 7 summer recipes, each one better than the other. We promise: it will be hard to get them wrong! And in order to recreate the real Italian foodie experience our fellow Italian experts and specialized sommeliers at Italian Wine Merchants, suggested a wine pairing to each one of the recipes!
The following dishes are all relatively easy to prepare and we guarantee their success on a warm (and not so warm, if you live in Chicago!) days, rumbling stomach or not.
1. Fettuccine with Lemon and Basil
Pasta, lemons, extra-virgin olive oil and basil: these are the key ingredients of this incredibly simple but absolutely exquisite piatto. The combination of lemon and basil is absolutely unique and you will fall in love with its delicacy. Fettuccine with Lemon and Basil: fresh ingredients and a blender is all you need to experience the true essence of the Amalfi coast.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Raffaele Palma Puntacroce 2011 Bianco: This Amalfi Coast gem is the just right wine for Fettuccine with Lemon and Basil. Puntacroce is a blend of organically grown indigenous grapes of Falanghina, Biancolella, Ginestra and other Campanian grapes Fenile, Ripolo and Pepella. It has the perfect weight and taste to match the pasta.
2. Sicilian Bruschetta
How could we write this blog on Italian summer goodies and not include the stellar Italian bruschetta? Easy and quick to make as well as a complete and cheap meal: bruschetta will never disappoint. Oh, and did I mention how yummy it is, especially when the bread is grilled? Among the many different kinds of bruschetta, Select Italy you to try the Sicilian one this year. The Sicilian bruschetta is made unique by a bed of eggplant puree and a fresh ricotta salata topping. Oil, basil and diced tomatoes are the perfect combination that will make your summer grilling night absolutely unforgettable.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Palari Rosso Del Soprano 2009: Palari Rosso Del Soprano is made by Salvatore Geraci, one of Sicily’s top producers from the province of Messina. The Rosso del Soprano is made of a wild blend of indigenous grape varieties Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera, and small quantities of the local Acitana and Galatena. The fresh fruity flavors make the Sicilian Bruschetta zing!
3. Insalata Pantesca
Let’s stay in Sicily, which is probably the Italian region with the most delightful dishes for the warm season. This mouth-watering salad originated in Pantelleria, the largest of the island surrounding Sicily. Again, super simple: natural ingredients and a little bit of your time will be more than enough to prepare a tasty Insalata Pantesca. A component that you really can’t skip? Capers: they are the symbol of the island and are essential if you want to dive into the sea of these amazing summer flavors from Pantelleria.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Porta del Vento Maque Perricone 2010: The Sicilian red, Porta del Vento Maque Perricone 2010 Rosso is a made match for Insalata Pantesca; dish served cold in Sicily, made with boiled potatoes, tomatoes, onions, black olives oregano and capers. Maque Perricone, served with a slight chill, has an all the components to enhance and boost the flavors of this island dish.
4. Carpaccio di Manzo with Pecorino di Fossa Cheese & Toasted Almonds
We at Select Italy have heard (and of course enjoyed) of Carpaccio many times, but never tried to make it before we bumped into this foolproof recipe. Carpaccio was created by the eminent Venetian chef, Giuseppe Cipriani, and then spread all over the world as one of the symbols of Italian cuisine. Select Italy suggests an incredible variant of this dish, where Carpaccio is served with Pecorino di Fossa and Toasted Almonds: they are a heavenly combination, guaranteed.
Suggested Wine Pairing – Chionetti San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogliani 2010: Quinto Chionetti San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogliani 2010 is the wine for the Italian classic Carpaccio di Manzo, a dish that never goes out of fashion as a good Dolcetto is always in demand. Carpaccio di Manzo, slices of airy thin slices of beef tenderloin needs no other accompaniment then a fresh, fruity wine of Piemonte served with a slight chill. This is summers remedy to ward off the heat to be refreshed and nourish.
5. Marinated Bell Pepper Salad
This veggie-based dish is a perfect, colorful side to accompany your summertime lunches or dinners. In this episode of “Fresh and Italian,” the Marinated Bell Pepper Salad really seems the easiest meal you could possibly ever make (and it almost is). The main ingredient is red peppers (they have to be roasted, either on the grill or in the oven), served with extra-virgin olive oil, anchovies and seasonal herbs and spices. Enjoy it on some toasted bread after it marinated in the refrigerator overnight… mhmh, how appetizing!
Suggested Wine Pairing – Serafini & Vidotto Bollicine Di Prosecco NV: A delicious Italian marinated bell pepper is something to sing about and a Serafini & Vidotto Bollicine Di Prosecco NV will bring in the chorus. Prosecco brings joy to ever occasion. The joy of Prosecco can’t be underestimated, whether on its own or with a bell pepper salad. Serafini & Vidotto Bollicine Di Prosecco is made in the province of Veneto in the Montello and Colli Asolani DOC district northwest of the beautiful city of Treviso, just over an hour from Venice. Refreshing, bubbly, soft, pleasant and flavorful.
6. Turbot with Tomato Sauce
If you are in the mood for the flavors of the sea, then Turbot (flatfish) with Tomato Sauce is a recipe that will certainly suit your needs. Soft, fresh white fish, placed on a bed of homemade tomato sauce, finished with a touch of seasonal herbs. By following this recipe, not only you will learn how to make authentic Italian tomato sauce (it’s super-easy, we promise!) but you will also learn how this versatile sauce is a true staple of Italian cuisine. It is not just for pasta, but also a great addition to protein, and so many other things…
Suggested Wine Pairing – De Conciliis Donnaluna Fiano 2012: Fiano is one of the great white wines of Italy and De Conciliis Donnaluna Fiano 2012 is one of Campania’s treasures. A noble fish like Turbot deserves a noble wine. Bruno De Concillis Donnaluna Fiano is one of the stars of Southern Italy. The aromas are divine and the flavors are zesty with pear, apple, and honey flavors nuances coupled with intensity and liveliness.
7. Smoked Salmon Cheesecakes
Picture this: it’s summer, late in the afternoon. You are not really hungry but definitely need a snack. You want to stick to your fitness-related commitments but at the same you are not ready to have something light and flavorless. Smoked Salmon Cheesecakes would surely be your best option. This recipe includes three different kinds of Italian light cheeses, smoked salmon, and, of course, extra-virgin olive oil. With the help of a mixer, “I giochi sono fatti.” Enjoy!
Suggested Wine Pairing – Sartarelli Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico 2013: This is a great choice for Smoked Salmon Cheesecakes. This dish which, requires no cooking, needs an appropriate summer fresh wine that is lively and cheerful. The Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi is the one, offering citrus notes and beautiful fruit flavors.
Which one of these recipe are you looking forward to try? Let us know in the comment box!