2 Delish Italian Dishes Made Easy

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As we drag ourselves to work after the exuberant excesses of Christmas and New Year, it can feel a bit like emerging from a warm, fuzzy, low-lit, tinsel-covered cave into a cruel cacophony of everyday demands that’s a brutal assault on the senses.

So what can help us keep the January blues at bay without crawling back into bed and hibernating until Spring?

An oft-promised promotion that’s never materialised? The forlorn hope that our footy team will turn around a terrible string of results? Becoming happy and hirsute by participating in Januhairy (yes: it’s a thing!).

No – the most cathartic way to nourish your soul and body during this challenging time is by consuming copious amounts of magnificent Mediterranean cuisine.

So with that in mind, here are two delish Italian dishes made easy.

2 Delish Italian Dishes Made Easy pasta

1. Penne all’arrabbiata

The spicy heat of penne all’arrabbiata makes it the perfect January pick-me-up for clearing the sinuses and keeping you cosy and comforted.

The simple sauce is made by heating a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, throwing in a teaspoon of chilli flakes, adding in a couple of sliced garlic cloves, then introducing a tin of chopped tomatoes, breaking them up as the mixture blends together and simmering for 10-15 minutes.

Then simply boil your penne until it’s al dente, ensure the sauce covers each piece and add salt and a dash of balsamic vinegar to taste.

Tip: garnish with some fresh basil from Waitrose for a final professional flourish.

2 Delish Italian Dishes Made Easy risotto

2. Bacon and mushroom risotto

If you love pigging out on bacon and making room for mushrooms, why not combine your twin culinary passions with rice and whip up a wonderful bacon and mushroom risotto? This one-pot wonder will keep hunger at bay and tantalize your taste buds to boot.

This dish is child’s play to prep – heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add 6-8 rashers of chopped bacon and a chopped onion. Cook for 10 minutes until the bacon and onion exude their tasty juices, then stir in your rice and continue to cook until it’s soaked them all up.

Add a litre of pre-prepared hot chicken stock a little at a time, ensuring it’s gradually absorbed over a period of around half an hour. Once your rice tastes just right, add seasoning and serve – delicious!

Tip: find an awesome range of authentic Italian grains from rice specialist Riso Gallo.

As well as their mouthwatering tastes, the other great thing about this terrific twosome of Italian dishes is that they’re fun to prepare and won’t tax your post-festive brain too much with precise measurements and weird ingredients.

By the time you’ve injected a little Italian passion into your diet, this New Year will feel much more livelier and far less lethargic – mangiamo!

What’s your favourite Italian meal? Share your recipes in the comments section!

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