Italian cuisine is very diverse, with each region specializing in its own variation, but they all seem to focus on real foods with quality and a little flair. Aged meats, soft cheeses, artisan breads, vegetables, olive oil, truffles, fish, fruit, and I can't forget the wine. I'm drooling just thinking about it! Recently, I made a delicious pasta dish with pancetta and peas with a truffle, porcini and white wine cream sauce. It was fantastic and perfect for the cold February days. However, here in North Carolina, spring comes quickly once February is over and I found myself wanting lighter fare. So, when my friend and amateur photographer offered to take some pictures of me while cooking, I jumped at the chance to satiate my Italian craving. To pair with the slightly heavy meatballs, I decided to make a spring panzanella salad. I have never made a panzanella salad before, but it sounded delicious. Yes, folks, for a photo shoot, I decided to perfect one dish and make another I'd never made before. What can I say, I like a challenge.
I know, these are pretty basic Italian dishes, but they fit what I'm always aiming for with my cooking- a balance of healthy and delicious. I'll let you know next time I make some more yummy Italian foods. And if you ask nicely, I may even send you my meatball recipe ;)