A new season of Patio Café Cuisine Nights dining experiences opens Friday at Central Texas College. Dine on Italian cuisine from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Student Center (building 106).

The meal, prepared by students in the culinary arts/hospitality program, starts with an appetizer and soup: shrimp scampi ($6.75), minestrone soup ($7 for a bowl or $1.50 for a cup with an entree) and honey oat rolls ($1.50, one free with an entree).

The featured salad is creamy Italian pasta salad ($11), or diners can choose the house salad for $3.75, or free with an entrée.

Entrees are steak marsala ($16.50) — an 8-ounce New York strip loin topped with mushrooms and a sauce made with marsala wine; chicken parmesan ($13.50); and sweet Italian sausage with penne pasta ($14) — penne pasta, broccoli florets, garlic, olive oil, butter, grated pecorino Romano cheese topped with Italian sausage.

Steak marsala and chicken parmesan are served with a choice of two side dishes. Italian sausage is served with one side dish.

Side dish options

Side dish choices are classic risotto (traditional Arborio rice seasoned with sundried tomatoes, onions, garlic and white wine simmered in heavy cream and parmesan cheese and garnished with parsley); oven-baked Italian potatoes with rosemary (oven-roasted potatoes tossed with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with sweet smoked paprika and fresh rosemary; broccoli aglio olio (a combination of broccoli florets, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper); and Italian green beans (freshly cooked green beans seasoned with mushrooms, onion, fresh basil, Italian seasoning and chestnuts).

Dessert choices

For dessert, choose either the amaretto gelato ($3.50) — homemade Italian ice cream flavored with Amaretto and garnished with toasted almonds; or the chocolate chip cannoli ($5) — cannoli, made-from-scratch, filled with a blend of mascarpone cheese, kahlua, creme de cacao and chocolate chips.

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