A simple roasted vegetable sandwich with fresh Mozzarella DOP and a spicy chile garlic mayonnaise is thoughtfully paired with Italian inspired sides and a bold Italian red for the ultimate in “La Dolce Vita” living.
This post is sponsored by The Italian Trade Agency. All opinions are my own.
I’m long overdue for a trip to Italy.
First off, the cuisine has always been my favorite—the pasta, the bread, the sun-ripened produce, the gelato, and the wine!!
Once my mother delved into our ancestry and we discovered that several generations back our family settled in Mexico via Northern Italy, I knew a trip to connect with this part of my heritage was imminent. While my husband and I began to plan our trip there last year, we had to postpone it when the opportunity arose to finally open his long awaited gourmet donut shop. But now, with the shop hitting its stride, 2019 is finally our year to tour Italy.
La Dolce Vita
I’m partnering with the Italian Trade Agency today to share a simple Italian feast I threw together to inspire us to plan our dream trip exploring the gorgeous Italian landscape by celebrating ‘La Dolce Vita’ here at home. La Dolce Vita is a common Italian phrase (fun fact, at one point I contemplated getting this phrase as a tattoo!). While literally translated to mean “the sweet life,” it possesses a deeper meaning. To me it means taking time away from the everyday hustle to slow down and enjoy the present moment, whether it’s with a nice glass of wine, a delicious meal, nature or the company of loved ones.
A simple Italian feast
The menu for this Italian feast is a simple and humble one. A Roasted Vegetable Sandwich on toasted ciabatta bread with mozzarella serves as the main course. It’s kicked up with a spicy chile garlic mayonnaise made with freshly grated garlic and ground Controne hot pepper, one of my favorite spices- I highly recommend you pick some up. We sprinkle it on everything from pizza to avocado toast!
To pair with the roasted vegetable sandwich I picked up some Giardiniera (an assortment of pickled vegetables typically served as an antipasto), olive-oil breadsticks, a nice hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, some fresh farmers market rolls and a homemade olive oil and aged balsamic dipping sauce.
Part of this meal included picking up a bottle of Italian wine, of course! This is something I plan to do regularly as we map out our trip in order to familiarize ourselves with the many wine-growing regions of Italy.
Wines of Veneto
Because Italy is made up of 20 unique wine-growing regions, each with their own diverse winemaking traditions, when planning a trip there it can be challenging to know where to begin. The Italian Wines website is an invaluable resource for educating oneself about Italian wines because it provides a wealth of information about each individual region and the wines grown within.
I stumbled across a bottle of 2015 Amarone della Valpolicella at my local wine shop, a hearty red made in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, near Verona. Thanks to the Italian Wines website, I learned that Veneto is Italy’s largest wine-producing region, making up 19% of the country’s total production. While just over half of the wines produced here are white (including Prosecco), the Valpolicella area produces some of the most notable wines of the region.
Valpolicella is typically made up of Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. While it is typically a young drinking wine, the Amarone della Valpolicella involves an ancient winemaking method called “appassimento,” a partial drying of the grapes, that serves to concentrate flavors and sugars to achieve a more full-bodied and age-worthy wine. This practice dates back to the Roman Empire!
The Amarone was bold and rich and really elevated my Roasted Vegetable Sandwich. I love the idea of juxtaposing an unassuming sandwich with a sumptuous red wine, because this is something I envision us enjoying often as we traipse through the Italian countryside: a meal made up of simple but flavorful ingredients paired with a lovely glass of regional wine. Truly living La Dolce Vita, wherever we happen to find ourselves.
Did you make this Roasted Vegetable Sandwich? If so share it with the hashtag #LePetitEats!
Roasted Vegetable Sandwich with Chile Garlic Mayonnaise
A simple roasted vegetable sandwich with fresh Mozzarella DOP and a spicy chile garlic mayonnaise
For the sandwich:
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 large zucchini sliced into ½ inch wide strips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch of salt
For the mayonnaise:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½-½ teaspoon finely ground hot pepper such as controne pepper or calabrian chile
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 ciabatta sandwich rolls
- 2 ounces fresh Mozzarella DOP sliced ½ inch thick
- 1 large tomato sliced ½ inch thick
- ½ cup arugula
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the bell pepper and zucchini on a baking sheet. Brush the zucchini with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt. Roast the pepper for about 20-25 minutes; the zucchini will likely finish cooking before the pepper, so you will need to pull it out sooner. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Whisk mayonnaise, pepper, garlic and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl.
- Split bread rolls horizontally and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Spread mayonnaise mixture on one or both halves.
- Once cool, peel, core and slice the pepper. Arrange the mozzarella, zucchini, pepper, tomato and arugula, on the bottom slice of ciabatta. Top with the other slice.