raspberry tiramisu and an al fresco italian dinner

Okay guys, as excited as I am for fall (seriously, I already have my Halloween costume + my apple cider candle is LIT) – I am kinda bummed to see summer come to an end, especially because this one really went by in a flash! My favorite part of summer is being able to cook, eat + entertain outside, so I thought I’d share what Dave and I threw together for a recent little shindig with our great friends Jim + Justin.

The four of us have visited and loved Italy, so I thought I’d piece together a fun Italian-themed night with some of our favorites. And since I’m the Queen of Bud Light, Justin was kind enough to supply more appropriate drinkie-drinks for the evening. Let’s just say, I remember most of the night. πŸ˜€

First up, I served some bruschetta with red wine vinegar and fresh basil from my herb garden – I am so thrilled I didn’t kill all my herbs this year! So handy to have around.

Cook time: 5/6 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients for Bruschetta
8 roma tomatoes, chopped into cubes
1⁄3 cup red onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1 dash salt and pepper
1 loaf long French bread, sliced

Simply chop up the tomatoes, the red onion, the garlic and the basil and mix together in a bowl with the red wine vinegar, oil, and salt + pepper.

Let this sit while you slice and grill the bread until it’s just toasted, by placing in a 350-degree oven on a sheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook until just toasted, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Then top these bad boys with a heaping spoonful of the tomato mixture. YUM.

Next up, Sir Dave made his amazing pizza on the grill. Check out his recipe and techniques in this edition of Dave Does Dinner. For this round we made three pizzas:

1. Prosciutto, pear, shredded mozzarella + homemade ricotta
2. Red sauce, shredded mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, red onion + black olives
3. Grilled skirt steak, shaved red potato, rosemary + shredded mozzarella

Dude knows what’s up. They were so tasty, I could have eaten them all myself! And Jim caught a good snap of ’em too.

To close out the night, I thought I’d give a new dessert recipe a go. I am so NOT a baker, and not even really that into sweets – but when I came across this recipe that has cheese in it and requires no baking – I was IN. This is Giada’s recipe, which I’m excited to tweak and make my own with some other flavor combos. But as is, it was a big hit.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Time in fridge: 3 hours
Servings: 10

Ingredients for Raspberry Tiramasu
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
6 tbs orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
1 lb mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 12-oz pound cakes, cut into 3 by 1 by 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 3/4 cup fresh raspberries

Stir the jam and 4 tbs of the orange liqueur into a small bowl to blend.

Mix the mascarpone and the remaining 2 tbs of orange liqueur together in a large bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla together until soft peaks form, this takes quite a few minutes.

Next, fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Then add the remaining whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until all combined.

Now it’s time to get stacking! Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish half of the cake pieces covering the entire base. Spread half of the jam mixture over the cake, followed by half of the mascarpone mixture, then cover with half of the fresh raspberries and repeat the layers one more time. Cover the dish and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Serve with a little glass of limoncello – ooh, so good on a hot night!

Hope you all are having a great summer! Happy eating!

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