Tasting Table's September Menu

There's more to Italy than the boot.

This month's menu embraces the edible allure of the Italian islands, with bright flavors and simple preparations ideal for summer's last hurrah.

An aperitivo of almond milk, gin, orange liquor and sparkling water promises to pique your appetite for an appetizer of calamari. Sautéed with lemon and white wine, the tender squid gets some crunch from seasoned bread crumbs. Continue the sea-soaked theme with fregola con vongole, in which Sardinian pasta meets briny clams and sweet sun-dried tomatoes.

A few spoonfuls of intensely flavored eggplant caponata will fortify your palate before you dig into the main event: pesce all' acqua pazza or "fish in crazy water." Then bring your island-inspired meal to a close with a robust coffee granita served, as the Sicilians do, with sugared brioche.

When your tan has faded to only a memory, savor a taste of the Italian isles long into the rest of the year: Our bonus limoncello recipe is luminous; it preserves a bit of the islands' warmth even as the leaves begin to fall.