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  • A Recipe for Love, Italian Style
    Part 1 of 3: Antipasto
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    Even the most amateurish of chefs could whip up this Italian menu. I promise!

    FEBRUARY 20, 2005 - Nothing says loving like a delicious, home cooked meal. Perhaps, you cooked up something special for your honey for San Valentino last week. But why not display your affection year round? If you want to show how much you care, take your cues from the Italians. Put on an apron, pick up your wooden spoon and get to work. Below you'll find a menu that has helped me fake culinary genius more than once. But I warn you: This is not for carb-o-phobics. My people will never give up their bread and pasta.

    Antipasto

    Caprese salad - Your guests will be singing your praises for this simplest of salads. All you have to do is slice a tomato and the freshest, homemade mozzarella you can find. My Zia Maria makes her own but that takes time and can be complicated. Your local gourmet or Italian specialty store should have what you're looking for. Mozzarella di Bufala is best. Place one slice of mozzarella on top of one slice of tomato with salt, drizzle some olive oil on top. And garnish with basil if you'd like.

    Prosciutto and Melon - This is even easier to make than the tomato and mozzarella. Peel and cut a cantaloupe into crescent-moon slices. Then, wrap a slice of imported Prosciutto di Parma around each piece of cantaloupe. The salty taste of the prosciutto makes a wonderful contrast to the refreshing sweetness of the melon.

    Tray of Italian Cold Cuts - Pick up dry sausage, Genoa salami, mortadella and your favorite Italian cheeses at a nearby salumeria or deli. Fold and/or cut the cold cuts so that you can place them in a decorative manner on a serving tray. Serve them with pieces of fresh, still warm Italian bread. If you're particularly ambitious, you can make the bread yourself like nonna used to do. If not, your local bakery or grocery store's Italian bread will suffice.

    Part 2: Primo e Secondo Piatto
    Part 3: Contorno, Frutta e Espresso

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