There are many ways to make garlic bread and I certainly make it different ways. But this way is by far my favorite. In Italy, to celebrate the first olive oil of the season, they make this simple fettunta - or "greased slice". It's simply grilled bread, rubbed with a garlic clove, drizzled with the best olive oil you have, and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt. You won't believe how great it is. There is a very unique taste you get if you use a raw garlic clove on a slice of fresh bread. If you want, you can add a topping to make bruschetta, but this is my favorite way to make garlic bread to accompany dinner. Many times I buy a whole grain or multi grain loaf to make this with and it's delicious. As always, with simple recipes with few ingredients you need to use the best ingredients you can - a good, fruity extra virgin olive oil and some outstanding sea salt.*
Panna Cotta is one of those great desserts that you can make ahead of time. It's so quick and easy and can be served in any pretty glass. When I make this recipe, I always have some mixture left over and I pour the extra into small ramekins. You can also pour this into coffee cups or espresso cups for a really fun presentation.
Panna Cotta means "cooked cream" in Italian and is a very adaptable recipe and can be flavored with just about anything. If you want to leave out the cocoa powder from this recipe, you can add some vanilla bean and have vanilla panna cotta. Or add a touch of honey or a little pureed blueberries. You really can flavor it any way you like.
In Italy, digestivos are commonly drunk after the meal and when we were in Sicily, we certainly had our share of Averna after meals. But this digestive is drunk in the Venetian region of Italy and is bright, fresh and clean. A sgroppino is made by whipping together Italian Prosecco, lemon sorbet and vodka. Sgroppino means "to untie" as in, to "untie your stomach" after a meal. So you have a great excuse to make these after dinner! But hey, these are so refreshing we drink them on a hot summer day before dinner.