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Joelle Kurrus
January 28, 2014 | Joelle Kurrus

An Italian Dinner for two

Love is in the air at Amphora and if you're like me, a special celebration is in order for Valentines Day.  Truth be told, I'm not much on those overpriced roses or crowded restaurants.  No, for me nothing says "I love you" more than a specially prepared meal at home. Light the candles, toss a log on the fire and of course, open a bottle of delicous Amphora wine.  With that in mind,  I asked a my foodie friends here at the winery to help me construct a memorable dinner for you and your love.  Requirements included easy prep, and most importantly, perfectly paired with the Amphora Italian Collection for the month of February.  What's this you ask?  The collection is made up of three amazing Cal/Italian varietals: 2010 Teroldego, 2007 Sangiovese, and 2010 Barbera.  We've packaged them in stunning burgundy wine bags and tucked in the famous Italian chocolate Baci Perugina for you to share with your Valentine- specially priced and with $5 shipping.

First Course:

Grilled Artichokes with lemon Aioli

* artichokes
1 lemon (juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut the top off of the artichoke.
2. Trim the outer leaves with scissors.
3. Cut the artichokes into quarters.
4. Remove the fuzzy centers and scratchy leaves.
5. Soak in lemon water until ready to cook.
6. Cook in a pot of salted water until tender.
7. Drain and squeeze out the excess water.
8. Toss the artichokes with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.
9. Grill the artichokes until golden brown.
Lemon Aioli

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix everything.


Pork Chops alla Pizzaiola

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Total Time:37 min   Prep:7 min   Cook:30 min
Yield:2 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (1-inch thick) bone-in pork loin center-cut chops (about 12 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, in juice
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the pork chops to the skillet and cook until they are brown and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted horizontally into the pork registers 160 degrees F, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to a plate and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Add the onion to the same skillet and saute over medium heat until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, herbes de Provence, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend and the juices thicken slightly, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and more red pepper flakes. Return the pork chops and any accumulated juices from the plate to the skillet and turn the pork chops to coat with the sauce.

Place 1 pork chop on each plate. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Side Dish

Orzo With Wilted Spinach and Pine Nuts

Original recipe makes 8 servings Change Serving quantity or make a little extra for next day lunch.

1 (16 ounce) packageuncooked orzo

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup pine nuts

1 (10 ounce) bag baby spinach

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1 (8 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

1/2 fresh tomato, chopped

salt to taste


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. (Firm or slightly undercooked orzo works best for this dish.) Drain, transfer to a mixing bowl, and set aside.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, stirring to blend. Stir in garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes, and reduce heat to medium. Stir in pine nuts and cook until lightly browned. Add spinach, cover, and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
Toss spinach mixture with orzo pasta. Portion onto serving plates with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese and chopped tomatoes.


Italian Affogato - Affogato al Caffe

Ingredients Per Person:

1 scoop good-quality vanilla ice cream or gelato*
1 shot (1 1/2 ounces) freshly brewed hot espresso or 1/3 cup strongly-brewed coffee

* You could substitute any flavor of coffee you would like. Chocolate and coffee-flavored ice creams also taste great!


Brew the coffee according to the preparation and strength of your desire.

In a small dessert glass or coffee cup, scoop the ice cream or gelato. Pour the hot prepared coffee or espresso over the top of the ice cream.


Buon Appetito with love from Amphora


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