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Tour De Food: Italia

Growing up in an Italian family, I was always surrounded by amazing food. However, nothing could have prepared me for the delicious cuisine I experienced when I studied abroad in Italy last semester. I lived with a host family so I was spoiled with good food everyday by my host mom! I still haven't tried anything that compares to her green peas!

I picked 11 dishes that remind me of all the amazing meals I ate over the four months I was there, including a pea recipe that I can't wait to try out. As my host mom would say — buon appetito!

Homemade Pasta Dough: This is a basic pasta recipe which can be used for noodles, lasagna, etc.

On the Side Peas: Serve these peas with lamb.

Tomato, Basil, French Mozzarella & Prosciutto Panini: You can substitute hummus or black olive tapenade for the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Tapenade in this great, grilled sandwich recipe.

Pasta Primavera with Caramelized Onions: Why not treat the family to an Italian dinner tonight

Caprese Salad: This simple Italian salad combines refreshing ingredients to make a wonderfully light appetizer.

Lemon-Anise Biscotti: A Sicilian specialty, this recipe produces a relatively hard biscuit -- perfect with an afternoon cup of coffee.

Spaghetti Ala Putanesca: You can either serve the flavorful sauce over the bed of spaghetti or mix it in well.

Baked Clams: Baked clams have become a standard in the Italian-American restaurant repertoire. So standard, in fact, that they have become something of a cliche and are usually represented by frozen, mass-produced little clods of garlic-flavored bread crumbs and rubber bands. Here is how the dish is properly done.

Zucchini Penne: Every year, I try to find new ways to eat zucchini and this recipe is a definite winner!

Chicken & Gnocchi in Pesto Sauce: One night I was getting ready to make dinner and I asked my son Zack what I should make. He said, why don't you saute the chicken, cut it up, make some gnocchi and mix it all together. The rest is history! I added the spices and the last thing was the pesto. It really brought it all together. It's fabulous!

Tiramisu: Wolfgang PuckIt’s easy to understand why tiramisu is Italy’s most popular dessert — not just on Columbus Day, which will be celebrated on Monday, Oct. 9, but year-round. When you’ve got one dishthat combines the flavors of chocolate and espresso coffee with sugar, light spongy ladyfinger cookies, and tangy-creamy mascarpone cheese, how can you possibly go wrong?

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