I don't know about y'all, but I have been itching to travel lately. Since I received my vaccine, I have been staring longingly at travel photos. It's a textbook "wanting what you can't have." Luckily for us, even if you can't travel, you can at the very least eat like you're in a foreign country. Today I'm sharing an Italian menu that will make you feel as though you're on the coast of Lake Garda, or traveling down a shady street in Verona.
The star of this meal was the spring green risotto. Risotto is high maintenance and needs to be babied, so I kept the rest of the menu "assemblage" only. This would be an easy weeknight meal to throw together (as long as you don't mind standing over a stove for a half hour stirring risotto after work).
I incorporated appetizers into my tablescape, including sesame and plain bread sticks in drinking glasses. I also served ciabatta bread with olive oil and balsamic for dipping.
In addition to the bread, I served a prosciutto and melon salad. Cantaloupes are in season right now and so sweet, which paired perfectly with the salty prosciutto. I prepped the melon before making the risotto so all it needed before serving was a drizzle of olive oil.
The star of this menu was the spring green risotto. I love making risotto, but it is a laborious endeavor. The base of most risotto begins with oil, butter, onions (or shallots), white wine, and Arborio rice. You slowly add simmering stock to the rice, stirring almost constantly. Once you've mastered a basic risotto you can add in vegetables, seafood, whatever you want. In the fall, I love doing a wild mushroom risotto. For this meal I included blanched asparagus and green peas. Off the heat, stir in Italian mascarpone and lemon juice.
Get the Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa's Spring Green Risotto
For dessert, I served fruit salad with limoncello. Macerate berries in limoncello liquer, then top with a mixture of Greek yogurt, lemon curd, honey, and vanilla extract. This was a refreshing palate cleanser after the hearty risotto.
Get the Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa's Fruit Salad with Limoncello
Get the Look:
Per usual, I set the table with a neutral table cloth, woven chargers, and simple white china. For a centerpiece, I placed different herbs in drinking glasses and added two types of breadsticks. The natural centerpiece really channeled Italy. For a pop of color I used some blue and orange block print napkins from AERIN. I love how the bright napkins look alongside the herbs.
Thanks for reading!