Sunday Dinner - Spring's 90 Minute Sprint

I felt like cooking today. I knew that my pantry was well stocked. I had visited four markets  over the past two days, stocking up on all that was needed, especially on fresh vegetables and fruits. These ingredients seem to go fast during Lent , as replacements for any kind of meat. 

The result was a very tasty dinner, four courses in all starting with appetizer, and ending with a palate cleansing berry=based treat. I clocked this one. Less than 90 Minutes

Sunday Dinner Menu
Tomato Bruscetta
Spaghetti al Pomodoro (not shown)
Stuffed Campari Tomatoes
Baby Artichoke Oreganata
Blackberry and Dates in Sloe Brandy Syrup

Wine: Etna Rosso Firriato 2007 

Stuffed Capari Tomatoes

Stuffed Camparis (uncooked)
Don't they look so happy happy sitting there in their baking tray  ready for a ride of the [short] life time ? 

I cored these tomatoes. The caps were not discarded but thrown into my sauce pan for my spaghetti .  The Juice was collected so that I could make the tomato salsa for the bruschetta appetizer.

Stuffed Campari Tomatoes
These tomatoes were stuffed with some seasoned bread crumbs. The filling was simple. Coarse bread crumbs about 1 cup,  Grated Romano 1/3 cup , thinly sliced garlic (2 gloves), S/P. 

Baby Artichoke Hearts Oreganata
Baby Artichoke Oerganata
Two tricks made this dish especially tasty . First I added some carrot sticks to the mixture, to mellow out any hints of bitterness from the chokes.  Second, I used coarse Italian bread crumbs, and did not over do it with quantity . The entire dish took about 1/4 of  seasoned crumbs, which were left over from the tomato dish.

The result was some These babies were tender, and required just a small amount of leaf plucking  and scraping. 

Fresh Bruschetta Tomato Salsa

Bruschetta Tomato Salsa

The Tomato Salsa was made with the reserved tomato juice that I squeezed out of the campari tomatoes with the addition of some fresh basil, EVOO, S/P and  a few tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar.

And now for a quick dessert

Blackberry and Dates with Sloe Brandy Syrup
Blackberry and Dates
The berries and dates were flavored with  a sloe brandy plus some Grand Marnier , agave syrup and a pinch of salt. After tossing, they were chilled for about one hour.

The fan club was ecstatic, and went into a artichoke leaf plucking frenzy .  I think I should award them a certificate.Or maybe a, small bib. It can get messy scraping those green leaves.

Salute !


  1. Hi Mick,

    Why do you think this Italian wine will go well with what you made?

    Any pairing tips?


    1. I think it is all about the use of the wheat based ingredients. A borderline robust red, connected well with the ciabatta, the breadcrumbs and of course the bowl of spaghetti. Not overly tannic. and not too fruity, the Etna Rosso. to me felt like the right wine to wash down some good pasta with a simple red sauce. Blackberries, well, let's think about that. How often do we hear the experts talk about hints of currants and blackberries? Well here you had the real thing. Cheers



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