Friday, December 12, 2014

Recipe: Tuscan Pasta Salad

Hello My Lovelies!
Today I thought I would share with you a pasta dish that I love making during the holidays. It’s quick, easy, and most of all tasty. It’s also perfect for those crazy days leading up to Christmas when you’re busy wrapping gifts and decorating the house. Or if you’re entertaining a book club or hosting a tea.

1 pound of cubed Prosciutto*
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary**
2 Fresh Sage Leaves**
2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme**
12 ounces of Ronzoni Garden Delight Tricolor Rotini
1 Large Carrot
¼ Cup sliced Olives—for this recipe, I used green olives
1 Cup of Kraft Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Parsley-diced**

1—In a medium sauce pan infuse the olive oil with the rosemary, sage, and thyme over low heat for 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
2—Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box or to your preference. Drain and add to a large mixing bowl.
3—Place the prosciutto in a strainer and give it a quick rinse under cold water to remove the excess salt. Drain well, then add the prosciutto to the oil and herbs and heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4—While the prosciutto is warming, peel ribbons of carrots with a vegetable peeler into the large mixing bowl containing the pasta. Slice up olives and set aside.
5—Add the prosciutto to the pasta and carrot ribbons, pour the Balsamic vinegar over and stir well with a wooden spoon.
6—Place in dish, top with sliced olives, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley. And serve.
*Tomatoes can be added in place of prosciutto.
**2 ½ Tablespoons of dried herbs can be used in place of fresh.



If you’re a tea aficionada like me, I’m sure you’re always searching for the perfect pairing. Seeing as the Tuscan Pasta Salad has a nice savory taste, I wanted to pair it with a tea that had a spicy flavor but wouldn’t be too bold. 
I immediately knew that I would select Harney & Sons Holiday Tea. It’s a nice seasonal black tea spiced with citrus, almond, clove, and cinnamon. The tea is very smooth and reminiscent of mulling spices. While the clove is very aromatic, the tea is blended in such a way that the citrus flavor shines through while the clove, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond flavors are in the background.

Entertaining without breaking the bank!
I’m always on the hunt for chinaware to use whilst entertaining however I don’t want to spend a small fortune for it. So, I head to TJ MAXX and HomeGoods. Those two stores are my ‘go to’ stores for chinaware. I’m able to find the items I’ve been drooling over online for a fraction of the cost.
The Lenox ‘Butterfly Meadow’ dessert plates sell for between $20-$30 a plate in places like Macy’s or the Lenox stores, but I managed to find six plates (3 in blue and 3 in pink) for $3.99 each at TJ MAXX.  Score!!
I’ve had my eye on this Bluebird tea set from Grace’s Tea ware for ages. I’ve seen the tea set on several teashop websites, but the price was normally $50 or above. Which I have to say isn’t a bad price for a tea set such as this and I have indeed paid more for just a teapot. Although when I walked into TJ MAXX and found a set of two cups and saucers for $7.99 complete with a little blue box and bow, I knew those little lovelies were coming home with me.

I searched the shelves for the matching teapot and came up empty handed at TJ MAXX, although I was over the moon when I found one at HomeGoods. What made me even more ecstatic was the fact the teapot was only $12.99! Another amazing score!!!
Although the teapot wasn’t an exact match, it being Imperial Blue and the cups being Peacock Blue, they still coordinate perfectly and no one has realized that it isn’t an actual set.


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