I participated in this event on behalf of Wendy’s Bloggers for Colavita. I received Colavita products to facilitate my review.
I have always been a huge fan of Italian food. It’s seriously my favorite. I have Italian ancestors, so we have enjoyed quite a lot of pasta dishes in my family over the years. Pastas, breads, cheeses, sauces, tons of garlic and herbs… what’s not to love?! I think I could eat Italian food every single day and never grow tired of it.
John and I have an Italian dinner night several times a month. There’s just something really romantic about Italian food, isn’t there? While going out to eat an Italian meal is fun, it’s not very easy for us to do with a toddler. We are homebodies anyway, and enjoy eating in each other’s company without the distractions and loud noises that you would find in a restaurant. It’s always fun to turn the lights down low, lights some candles, pour some wine (or sparkling grape juice right now because I’m pregnant!), listen to some good music and enjoy a nice Italian meal together at home.
I recently had the opportunity to try out some Italian goodies from Colavita. I was sent their Simply Italian Gift Set, which contains Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Colavita Balsamic Vinegar, Cirio Crushed Tomato with Basil, Colavita Eggplant & Sweet Peppers, Colavita Olive Bruschetta, Colavita Marinara Sauce, Colavita Tomato Basil Sauce, Colavita Penne Rigate, Dal Raccolto Capellini, Dal Raccolto Orchiette, and Almond Cantuccini.
Colavita makes it really easy for you to cook a wonderful Italian meal right in the comfort of your own home. They even have a Recipe Library right on their website to give you some inspiration for your meal. You can follow Colavita on Facebook and Twitter.
I decided to make Eggplant and Sweet Pepper Veggie Pasta. This recipe is SUPER quick and easy to make, and it was absolutely delicious. Just look at THIS! Doesn’t that look amazing?! The sweet peppers were just bursting with flavor, and the eggplant made this a hearty dish that I didn’t feel too guilty about eating.
It only takes a handful of ingredients to create this wonderful dish, most of which are provided in the Simply Italian Gift Basket:
- 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil OR 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 jar Colavita Eggplant and Sweet Peppers
- 1 pound Colavita Pasta
- ½ jar Colavita Marinara Sauce (or Colavita Tomato Basil for a bright, fresh version of the dish)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Once you have gathered up all of your ingredients, prepare the pasta as follows:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Heat 2 tbsp Colavita Olive Oil in large skillet over medium-low heat.
3. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the jar of Eggplant and Sweet Peppers and simmer for another 3 minutes to release the flavors.
4. Add the ½ jar of Colavita Marinara (or Tomato Basil) Sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to incorporate all the flavors.
5. When the water boils, add the pasta, stirring to prevent sticking. Cook according to package directions.
6. Drain pasta, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water and transfer the pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Using tongs, mix the pasta into the sauce well.
7. If the sauce seems dry, feel free to add a little of the pasta water.
8. Season with salt and pepper and serve with grated Parmesan cheese and basil.
This pasta dish turned out so great. I can’t even tell you how wonderful the eggplant and sweet peppers smelled while cooking up in the skillet. It was so fresh and wonderful tasting, and it paired well with the Cheesy Olive Bread I made, too!
The Olive Bruschetta included in the gift basket inspired me to make a bread to go with our Eggplant and Sweet Pepper Veggie Pasta. I simply sliced a loaf of Italian bread in half lengthwise, mixed together the jar of Olive Bruschetta with 2 cups of Italian Blend shredded cheese until it was well combined, spread the cheese and olive mixture all over the Italian bread and broiled it in the oven for 15 minutes. Easy, and delicious!
Dinner was everything I had dreamed it would be, but I can’t forget about the dessert! We broke open that box of Almond Cantuccini and paired it with a cup of hot coffee. These almond cookies were so delightful – perfectly crunchy, with a light and sweet almond flavor. I had to exercise some major will power to keep myself from devouring the whole box!
One lucky reader will win the same gift basket I received! All you have to do to enter, is simply complete as many entries as you wish, using the Giveaway Tools application below. Good luck!!
Giveaway rules: One winner per household, email address, or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again. Winners must have a U.S.-based address to receive their prize. Giveaway ends on December 3, 2014 at 11:59pm EST.
The Colavita Story
The Colavita family traces its roots to the small town of Sant’Elia a Pianisi, in the Molise region of Italy. It was there, four generations ago, that Giovanni Colavita founded the family olive oil tradition and Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil was born. Over the years, the Colavita family became masters at the delicate crafts of “tasting” and blending extra virgin oils from different types of olives grown in Apulia and nearby regions. This skill enabled the family to produce 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil with a consistent fine quality – a skill that sets Colavita apart today from the other leading brands.
Today, the Colavita’s main focus is still bringing consumers authentic Italian extra virgin olive oil; however, the Colavita brand has grown to include many other quality specialty food products that are sold in over 60 countries. Colavita durum wheat semolina pasta, a full selection of balsamic and wine vinegars, traditional and organic pasta sauces, ready-to-serve soups and marinated vegetables, and olive-canola blended oils are the ingredients of choice for chefs in home, restaurant, and professional kitchens worldwide.