Now it’s not everyday that we get dinner invites and it is even rarer that we get one a week, however, to our luck and bewilderment our good friend Ross texted me the other day inviting us up the hill to his place for pizza. We were quite impressed as we knew Ross and his wife E are doing the tag-team parenting scenario (across Italy and the US last week but a mere distance of Florence and Roma this week) and I am sure he was aware we were up with E the week before (apple pie blog) and so instead of missing out on our fabulous company he would dine with us too…
Ross first promised PizzaMan pizza, a local joint I hear makes a very good pizza in our area of Florence. The boys were stoked as they have been wanting to try PizzaMan for a while, and I was happy with anything I wasn’t making, however, as we were back and forth texting the plan started changing and then I got a call from Ross at the store informing me he was in fact going to cook and he was fine with the challenge but ‘let’s just run through the menu’. I’m not sure sure if E had got in his ear about cooking or whether he really did want to cook for us. But that’s a mystery I can live with.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Ross cooked a delicious two course vegetarian meal for us (he is one of the five vegos we have met since living here in Florence, this is new for me!) and I brought up the rear with cakes from our local patisserie…….I mean who could resist? We had a brilliant night of chat and food and we are all looking forward to schedules calming down a tad so we can all dine together in the same country, until then here is a photo diary of Ross’s dinner. What makes it even more special is the fact that Ross doesn’t usually cook (so my friend Shelly tells me) so here I have it plain as day in colour photos ROSS CAN COOK!
We started the evening with a very traditional Tuscan bean bruschetta, however, before you scroll down I do have to apologise for the poor quality of the photos, the iPhone isn’t quite up to standard here.
The quick, no fuss method, open a can of cannelloni beans, pour entire contents into a saucepan and heat up, meanwhile toast good quality bread in toaster, rub with raw garlic clove and then just before serving add beans and some juice (important) to garlic toast; drizzle over GOOD QUALITY extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt flakes then devour. So simple and yet very, very tasty….good job Alex was there to keep an eye on the salt intake!
Once beans were devoured Ross made a simple tomato sauce, adult version (we fed the kids first!) he started with a good dollop of harissa, lots of fresh crushed garlic and some extra hot little dried chillies and slowly sautéed in olive oil then added a tin of tomatoes followed by a slosh of red wine vinegar and salt. I have to mention at this stage I kept asking him to taste the sauce and see what else it needed….this concept was new to Ross He could have got a little annoyed with me poking my head in but then again he didn’t seem to mind too much and it tasted really, really good!
We are not quite sure but Nic seems to deny any wrong doing with the extra salt on the table. Just wondering if this was a game tactic or if he wanted more red wine.
Ross looking super serious dishing up.
A healthy shaving of parmesan and fresh basil leaves finished off the spinach tortellini with spicy tomato sauce perfectly!
I could have made more apple pies but when you have these little beauties just down the road….why would I? Once the kids took off with their favourite looking ones we were left with the coffee squares, orange cheesecake bites (OMG sooo yummy) and the strawberry squares that actually tasted like a mouthful of strawberries!
All silliness aside, it really was a lovely evening. I am so glad Ross decided to cook as it was a quick, easy and very yummy dinner. I am sure we will do PizzaMan another night. Maybe when it’s my turn to cook!