When it comes to romance, naturally we yield inspiration from the Italians who are fluent in the language of love. For your next date night, consider staying home and impressing your significant other with a dreamy evening of Mediterranean cuisine. These dinner recipes using BelGioioso cheese are simple to prepare and will melt your lover’s heart.

Make a lasting first impression with this gorgeous appetizer full of contrasting textures.

Beef Carpaccio with Crispy Capers, Pecorino and Celery

  • Ingredients:
  • 1x 400g centre-cut beef eye fillet
  • ½ baguette, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to brush
  • ¼ cup baby capers, well drained
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Shaved BelGioioso Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Celery leaves and micro herbs (optional), to serve
  1. Directions:
  2. 1.Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. 2.Brush beef with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. 3.Wrap the beef tightly in cling film to make a round shape. Then freeze for 30 minutes (this will make it easier to slice).
  5. 4.Meanwhile, brush the baguette slices with olive oil and lay on a baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes or until golden. Set aside.
  6. 5.Place a large frypan over high heat until it begins to smoke.
  7. 6.Remove beef from freezer and discard cling film.
  8. 7.Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan then cook the beef, turning, for 3-4 minutes so the outside is seared but the inside is raw. Set aside.
  9. 8.Wipe the pan clean and then heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the capers and cook for 2-3 minutes until crisp. 9. Drain on paper towel.
  10. 10. Reserve the oil from the pan and place in a small bowl. Combine the Dijon mustard, lemon juice and honey in the same bowl. Season to taste.
  11. 11. Thinly slice the beef and arrange on a serving platter. Scatter the capers and drizzle over the dressing. Top with pecorino, celery leaves and herbs. Serve with crispy bread.

Easy to prepare, this entreé is a true labour of love consisting of heavenly cheesy goodness.

Cacio e Pepe Pasta  

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 ¾ cups freshly grated BelGioioso Parmesan cheese or substitute for Pecorino Romano (reserve extra for plating)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz spaghetti pasta
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  1. Directions:
  2. 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  3. 2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  4. 3. Add pepper and cook for 1 minute until light toasted.
  5. 4. Next, add in the spaghetti and ¾ cup od of the reserved pasta water, tossing continuously to coat.
  6. 5. Sprinkle in BelGioioso Parmesan, tossing until the cheese is melted and the pasta is adequately coated. Add more pasta water if necessary.
  7. 6. Season to taste with salt and top off the dish with more BelGioioso Parmesan.

Steal a ‘pizza‘ your partners heart with this fresh, iconic and easy to prepare Valentine’s Day pizza.

Heart Shaped Mozzarella and Basil Pizza

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting rolling pin/surface)
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp n active dry yeast
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 7 ounces of warm water
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 cup canned plum tomatoes
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Toppings:
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounces fresh BelGioioso mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Dried red paper flakes
  • Directions:
  • 1. Prepare the pizza dough by whisking together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil and warm water and stir the mixture until the dough begins to form (don’t panic if the mixture seems dry). Next, transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 3 minutes or until smooth and slightly elastic.
  • 2. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow dough to rise in a warm, dry area for 2 hours.
  • 3. Preheat oven to 475°F for a minimum of 1 hour. During this time, assemble the pizza sauce by combining the pureed tomatoes, minced garlic, oil, pepper and salt into a small bowl. Set aside basil leaves and sliced mozzarella.
  • 4. Once the dough has doubled in size, separate into 2 equal parts. Place the dough onto a floured surface and cover gently with cling film and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • 5. On a floured surface, gently roll out the dough into a heart shape, allowing the edges to be slightly thicker. Carefully transport the pizza base onto a flour dusted baking sheet.
  • 6. Lightly brush olive oil onto the dough then spread the prepared sauce evenly, leaving a ½-inch border for crust. Top with mozzarella cheese slices.
  • 7. Bake in the 475°F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is golden and crust is brown.
  • 8. Top with fresh basil leaves and red pepper flakes to serve.

Hearts will melt over this savoury, wholesome pasta.

Artigiano Balsamic Asparagus Pasta

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh shallot, minced
  • 1 cup fresh asparagus tips, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh grape and cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 oz tagliatelle pasta
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 cup BelGioioso Artigiano Aged Balsamic & Onion cheese, crumbled
  1. Directions:
  2. 1. In a small frying pan, heat pancetta cubes until brown then drain on paper towel.
  3. 2. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, sauté the shallots, asparagus and tomatoes. Add fresh thyme leaves until combined, then remove skillet from heat and set aside.
  4. 3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  5. 4. Once cooked, remove pasta from the hot water and place into the large skillet of vegetables. Return pan to heat, adding in the remaining oil, cooked pancetta and parsley.
  6. 5. Plate pasta and top with BelGioioso Artigiano Balsamic & Onion cheese crumbles and serve immediately.

Sweet dreams are made of cheese! Finish off your night of fine dining with this elegant Italian dessert that is rich in decadent flavours.

Tiramisù

  • Ingredients:
  • 3 large eggs
    1 cup espresso, cooled
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 Tbsp. cognac or brandy
    8 oz. BelGioioso Mascarpone
    2 Tbsp. cocoa
    10 ladyfingers
  1. Directions:
  2. 1. Combine together 3 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon espresso, sugar and cognac into large bowl. Beat 2-3 minutes. Add BelGioioso Mascarpone and beat 3-5 minutes until smooth.
  3. 2. In another bowl, combine 3 egg whites and a pinch of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into Mascarpone mixture.
  4. 3. Quickly dip each ladyfinger into remaining espresso and layer on bottom of small serving dish. Spread Mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with cocoa. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

BelGioioso products are available in grocery stores island-wide.

For more information regarding BelGioioso click here.