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Valentine's Day Italian Style

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Tuscan Chicken With Garlic and Capers
Grilled Polenta With Triple Mushroom Sauce

(Family Features) - For a unique Valentine's Day celebration, bring the romance of Italy home with an elegant, Italian-themed dinner-and-a-movie night. Whether you're with a small group of friends or just with your significant other, great food, fine wines and a stirring film can make a truly memorable evening.

Start with a favorite classic Italian film and use that as a springboard for the rest of your night. Add in thoughtfully chosen food, wine and décor for the full romantic treatment.

The Food: The recipes featured here are simple, but sophisticated. Grilled Polenta with Triple Mushroom Sauce features crisp, seared polenta wedges with a zesty tomato-mushroom topping. (And, best of all, it can be made ahead and finished on the grill at the last minute for an easy appetizer or side dish.) Tuscan Chicken with Garlic and Capers takes thinly-pounded chicken breasts, tosses them lightly in flour and seasonings and lightly sautés them. A savory sauce of white wine, garlic, capers, anchovies and a premium prepared pasta sauce, such as Classico, comes together quickly on the stovetop.

The Movie: If you love foreign films or feel brave enough to try one, go for a classic Italian film such as "La Dolce Vita." Other romantic films that feature Italy or Italian themes include "Under the Tuscan Sun," "Enchanted April," "Only You," "Roman Holiday," "Moonstruck," and "A Little Romance."

The Wine: Italians wouldn't think of having a meal without a glass of wine. Consider having at least one red and one white wine available to guests. Here are some food-friendly wine choices:

Castello di Gabbiano Pinot Grigio
Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico
Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva
Castello di Gabbiano Alleanza

Set the Mood

Candles. Lots of candles. Candle light is warm, intimate and definitely romantic. But be careful about using too many scented candles. Unscented candles are best for the table, since there's no aroma to compete with the smell of your delicious meal.

If it's warm enough, enjoy a romantic evening alfresco by watching your Italian movie outside. Set a television up on the deck or rent a projection screen for the back yard so you can dine under the stars. Strings of little white lights in the trees or around the deck add to the romantic atmosphere.

If you want to go even more casual, set up a projector and hang a sheet up between trees or from a fence. Set out blankets or tablecloths on the lawn and enjoy a romantic Italian dinner picnic style.

Tuscan Chicken With Garlic and Capers

Description
For a unique Valentine's Day celebration, bring the romance of Italy home with an elegant, Italian-themed dinner-and-a-movie night. Start with this recipe for Tuscan Chicken with Garlic and Capers.

Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Gabbiano di Castello or other dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped, optional
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) Classico di Napoli Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce
  • Chopped fresh parsley, basil or oregano

Preparation
    1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and lightly toss in flour.
    2. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden and no longer pink inside, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
    3. Add garlic and onion to saucepan. Cook until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in wine, and cook until wine has nearly evaporated. Add capers, anchovy fillets, if using, and pasta sauce. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Return chicken to saucepan and heat through.
    4. Top chicken with sauce and parsley or other herbs. Serve over mashed potatoes, steamed rice or cooked pasta, if desired.

Serves
Makes 4 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Variation: Stir a few minced olives into sauce for an additional layer of flavor.

Grilled Polenta With Triple Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) Classico di Toscana Triple Mushroom Sauce

Preparation
    1. In medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Gradually stir in cornmeal and half the butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 20 minutes. Mixture will become quite thick. Stir in remaining butter and cheese. Pour cooked polenta evenly into 8-inch square baking dish, lined with parchment paper. Cool completely, then chill until firm. Slice into 12 wedges.
    2. Place polenta wedges on greased grill over medium heat. Cook on both sides, until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes. (The polenta wedges can be heated in a skillet instead of a grill, if desired.)
    3. In the meantime, in large saucepan, heat pasta sauce. Serve polenta with sauce over top.

Serves
Makes 6 servings

SOURCE: Foster's Wine Estates - Castello di Gabbiano
Classico Italian Sauces


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