Be prepared for lots of Italian inspired meals in the next several months, as I am studying abroad in Florence this semester! Living in Tuscany is a food lovers dream; every morning there are street markets with beautiful fruits and vegetables, the wine is perfecto (and inexpensive), and the smell of good cooking can be found rolling out of every restaurant and home. However, being raised in the states, where we are supplied with large appliances and microwaves, cooking can be a bit of a challenge here. I’ve decided to take on this challenge to learn how to cook simply and learn new, authentic Italian recipes. I’ve started going to the market nearly every day, and rather than planning meals, I allow my meals to be inspired by the freshest meats and produce at the days market. While this new method of shopping and cooking has been challenging, it is also making me a better cook, who can think on my feet and quickly find substitutes for ingredients. Even if you aren’t living in Italy, I challenge you to try this sometime. Believe me, you will be amazed at what you come up with.
In the mean time, you can also try the recipes that I create, like this Mushroom Ravioli with Balsamic Tomato Dressing.
- 1 8 oz. package of mushroom ravioli
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes; halved
- 1/2 cup sweet onion; sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper; chopped
- 1 clove garlic; minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and Pepper; to taste
- Fresh basil
- Boil a large pot of water.
- While water boils, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bell pepper; saute for 4 minutes or until tomatoes are tender and onions are translucent. Add the garlic; cook 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. Add the remaining oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; saute for two more minutes, allowing tomatoes to soak up the vinegar. Remove from heat.
- Add ravioli to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.
- Dish ravioli evenly among 2 plates and top both with tomato mixture. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.