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Who doesn’t love to celebrate love? It’s a wonderful thing! With Valentine’s Day a week away I’m sure many of you have already begun at least thinking about your plans for V-Day. Are you planning on going out for dinner, or staying home for a romantic home cooked dinner? Many local restaurants are extending their Dine-Out menu‘s until the 14th so lover’s can enjoy a 3 course dinner for less. As always Boston Pizza across Canada offer a heart-shaped pizza for Valentine’s Day with $1 of every pizza going towards charity. For those planning to stay home I have a little recipe for a pasta dish to share with you that’s quite simple and so flavourful. Maybe you can even slurp together your pasta a’la Lady & the Tramp.

This is a recipe that I was first introduced to by my boyfriends Grandmother. We beg her to make it for us every time we go to her house. I’ve changed the recipe a bit to make it my own. I promise you this pasta dinner recipe will knock your Valentine’s socks off!

Grandma Z’s Pasta

1 1/2 cups of sun-dried tomatoes

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 small sweet onion chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

2 handfuls of spinach

1 cup milk

1 small tub of Philadelphia cream cheese

1 package fettuccine noodles or egg noodles

Directions:

In large wok fry onions, mushroom,garlic and spinach with a touch of olive oil or butter. When browned slowly add cream cheese, working it in as it melts. Add sun-dried tomatoes. Slowly add in milk to make the sauce less thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer and stir for 5-10 minutes. Add to pasta and mix together. Et Voila!

I have tried every single time I’ve made this dish to take a good photo of what the sauce looks like and I can never do it justice. Just trust me when I say that this is the best pasta EVER!

Hope your Valentine’s Day is full of love and good food!

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The buzz surrounded Nicli Pizza Antica has been growing in Vancouver ever since the Gastown area building was purchased last winter. The restaurant, finally opened a few months ago  is serving up traditional Naples style pizza and has people lining up out the door nearly every night. The passionate owner Bill McCaig has spent much time perfecting this pizza, even taking the time to get Nicli established with a ‘Vera Pizza Napoletana’ certification. This isn’t your typical pepperoni pizza, it’s serious stuff.

The cardinal rules of making a traditional Naples style pizza are that first and foremost the dough must be formed by hand and according to Italian law  ‘the texture must be soft, elastic, easily foldable”. Cooked at no more than 905 degrees F in a wood fired oven for 90 seconds this pizza is a real piece of art. There are also requirements the toppings must meet as well there are certain types of italian tomatoes, meats and cheeses that are deemed appropriate.

This may sound like one pretentious pizza but the experience and flavours that come from one such masterpiece of a pizza is one you will never forget. Nicli Pizza Antica has done an excellent job of meeting these serious pizza standards and offers a variety of pizzas to choose from. The ”Capricciosa’ is topped with artichokes, prosciutto, mushrooms, black olives, fresh basil and italian cheese is so delicious, I swear you’ll never reach for a box of McCain’s Rising Crust ever again.

The drinks at Nicli are just as fresh as the pizza itself. The beer menu is deliciously unique, you can watch the bartenders grate fresh pears and slice strawberries for their killer cocktail list. The only downside to waiting at the bar and watching your drinks exquisitely prepared is the fact that there are no bar stools. So prepare yourself for a long, loooooooong wait to actually sit down and actually be able to to eat the pizza since they do not take reservations and they don’t offer a waiting area. Lunch hour might be a better time to go once the buzz surrounding this place dies down a bit.  Hopefully this place sticks around longer then the ill-fated Corner Suite Bisto Deluxe that died a painful death after the Olympics.

This E. Cordova Pizzeria has taken pizza to a “whole ‘notha level” in Vancouver and is absolutely worth the wait. Viva Italia!

Nicli Antica Pizzeria on Urbanspoon