A Little Italy

A while back I did one of those DNA tests that are so popular now. The results were about as expected: roughly equal parts Irish/English and Scandinavian, a smattering of Eastern European and an embarrassing percentage of Neanderthal. (That explains my sloping forehead, I guess.)

I was a little surprised not to find any Italian heredity, despite there being no Italians on my family tree. I'm pretty sure I inherited the "pasta" gene from somewhere.

If I were preparing an Italian feast just for myself, it would be something like pasta salad, pasta with meat sauce, and for dessert, chocolate-covered pasta or something.

But since most people aren't carbivores like myself, when I cook Italian for others to enjoy, I vary the menu a bit. The meal would start with an antipasto like fresh and colorful Roasted Vegetable Antipasto.

Roasted Vegetable Antipasto recipe | Tastefully Simple

Roasted mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and squash are tossed with Balsamic & Basil Dipping Oil and served warm or room temperature.

For the main course, I usually opt for a delicious dish such as Italian Pasta Casserole made with Mama Mia Marinara Sauce Mix.

Italian Pasta Casserole recipe | Tastefully Simple

Of course I'd serve it with buttery garlic bread, which I always make with Italian Garlic Seasoning.

Finally, after a hearty meal, a lighter dessert is in order. Inspired by Tastefully Simple's new Cinnamon Spice Coffee Seasoning, I whipped up my own version of ciambelette cookies for after-dinner dunking.

Sunny Ciambelette Cookies recipe | Tastefully Simple

Sunny Ciambelette Cookies are simple to make with Sunny Lemon Pound Cake Mix, lemon zest and just a bit of anise-flavored Sambuca liqueur. The perfect capper to the perfect meal.

Next time you want to set a Continental mood, crack open a bottle of chianti, light a few candles and cook up a simply delicious Italian meal.

Buon appetito!

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