Monday 20 May 2019

Date night dishes - classic Italian recipes

Capesante al Profumo d'Aglio by Antonio Cavaliere of Ristorante Rinuccini, Kilkenny
Capesante al Profumo d'Aglio by Antonio Cavaliere of Ristorante Rinuccini, Kilkenny
Antonio Cavaliere, Head Chef/Owner of the Michelin listed Ristorante Rinuccini in Kilkenny
'At home' Tiramisu by chef Antonio Cavaliere of Ristorante Rinuccini Kilkenny

To really spoil your loved one, these classic Italian dishes always impress!

The scallops in a beautiful lemon and butter sauce are very tasty and light. We always get our fresh fish and scallops from Kilmore Quay and they are always superb.

In the restaurant, our classic Italian Tiramisu is always a favourite. This beautiful Italian trifle is made with coffee and the word 'Tiramisu' means 'pick me up' - the perfect dessert after a delicious meal. My family always enjoy this dessert and I can't resist it myself when I visit home.

Buon appetito!

Capesante al Profumo d'Aglio (scallops with olive oil, white wine and garlic)

Serves 2


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (try our own brand from Ristorante Rinuccini)

1-2 finely sliced garlic cloves (to taste)

Splash of white wine

½ a zested lemon

50g butter

16 fresh Kilmore Quay scallops

Handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Maldon salt and freshly grated black pepper


To make the sauce, add a splash of olive oil to the pan and when hot, sauté the garlic. Add the white wine and lemon zest and add the butter, reduce in the pan until slightly thick in consistency, season to taste, set aside.

Just before serving, cook the scallops. In a roaring hot non-stick pan, sear each side of the scallop for 1-1.5 minutes until golden. It is very easy to over-cook scallops, they should have a springy texture to the touch and all of the pinkness should be gone.

Assemble the dish and serve immediately with a flourish of flat leaf parsley to finish.

Chef’s tip:

When cooking scallops, rub the oil on to the scallop rather than in the frying pan for best results.

'At home' Tiramisu

My recipe for the delicious creamy Tiramisu served to guests at Ristorante Rinuccini is a closely guarded secret with some special ingredients; however, this is my mother's recipe that is very special.

Makes 1 cake


2 egg yolks

35ml of Marsala wine (or to taste)

40g caster sugar

250g mascarpone cheese

200ml lightly whipped cream

5 shots Espresso (or strong fresh ground coffee)

Packet of Savoiardi biscuits

Good quality cocoa


Whisk the egg yolks, Marsala and sugar together until it turns to a pale yellow colour. Add the mascarpone and cream to the mixture and mix well.

The perfect test for the consistency is to turn the bowl upside down - if the consistency is correct the mixture will not fall out.

Then prepare the espresso or strong coffee. Pour the coffee into a flat dish. Dip the biscuits in the coffee and shake off the excess.

In a pretty serving dish begin to create the layers. Begin with a dusting of cocoa, then add a layer of soaked biscuits and lavish with the cream and Marsala mixture. Dust with cocoa again and repeat.

Continue this layering process and finish with a creamy layer and a final flourish of cocoa.

Place in the fridge for a few hours to set and allow the coffee to soak into the dish.

Chef’s tip:

If you can’t find Marsala to use in your Tiramisu, use sweet sherry instead.

Antonio Cavaliere is Head Chef/Owner of the Michelin listed Ristorante Rinuccini, celebrating 25 years in Kilkenny. See and @RinucciniKK on Twitter

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