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Returning to a Favorite Theme- Italian

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | March 20th, 2017 | Tasty Thoughts
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For our weekly tapas meal, I try to have a theme around which the dishes revolve. As they are small plates of food, it isn’t just choose a protein, starch, and veggie. I need the dishes to have flavor profiles that work well together. One way that I do this is by choosing a region or country to profile. Quite often I choose Italy.

Now, I am not deeply learned in the cooking styles of any country, but I do have a general understanding of ingredients and spices. So, when I use the term “Italian”, I say it loosely.For those better versed in Italian cooking, my dishes may not be anywhere near authentic. That’s ok with me; I still think my food is delicious.

Quite often I cook Italian dishes, as I find it easy to showcase cheese in the menu. Both my husband and I are loyal fans of cheese, so anytime I can work it into a menu, we’re happy about it, especially if the cheese is the star of the dish. Although, to be honest, we even like dishes in which the cheese plays a supporting role. Cheese just makes everything better.

As I looked through the Think Tasty archives, I discovered many Italian tapas dishes. Today I’m highlighting two that include cheese: one as the star and one as the sidekick. Either way, both are delicious. In fact, as I type, I am wondering when I can make each of these dishes again. Might have to throw the ingredients on my grocery list

Fondue with an Italian Twist– When I think of fondue, I tend to envision one made with some type of swiss. This fondue is a blend of mozzarella and provolone, which yields an incredibly gooey fondue that has a nice bite. It pairs well with Italian bread or broccoli.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip– Like eggplant parm and all of its saucy cheesiness? This dip ups the dish by doubling the cheese in regular parm with the addition of ricotta. If you make this dip, plan on eating the entire pan. The guilt will be worth it.

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