Suggest a 3 or 4 course Italian dinner menu
1) cold antipasto platter (salami, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, aged parmesan cheese, roasted peppers, sliced tomatoes, anchovies, good olives, pickled veggies, etc., etc.
2) linguine with a nice fresh tomato sauce
3) veal piccata or saltimbocca
4) simple mixed green salad dressed with olive oil, minced garlic, red wine vinegar, s&p
Got room for dessert?
5) slices of pears with some shavings of parmesan, drizzled with a little honey, sprinkled with freshly-ground black pepper
1. assorted crostini with white bean spread, basil pesto, tomatoes. Serve with assorted olives
2. Penne Carbonara (quick, elegant, delicious)
3. Braciole (Giada has a great recipe)served with fennel slices drizzled with olive oil and parmesan. Roast until brown and wonderful
4. olive oil citrus cake with berries or a cheese plate of various ages of Pecorino
what a fun post :) what region in the country do you live?
where i am (rocky mountain area), i'd try to stick to seasonality, which has always been an italian thing before it carried so much cachet here. i would prepare...
first course of fresh fava beans with pecorino. You can go super rustic and leave some whole for everyone to shell and eat with the cheese, or shell them yourself, add a handful of fresh mint leaves, thinly shaved fennel and pecorino with olive oil and lemon juice as an easy salad.
second course of risotto--a basic recipe embellished with tender asparagus, spring peas, lemon zest, with cooked shrimp to toss in as well.
dessert of panna cotta (with orange zest) or zabaglione with a moscato wine (lighter for the new season) (you can do both ahead) with the season's first berries. If the fruit isn't up to par, cook them down a little bit with just a touch of sugar and mash it a bit and drizzle as a hearty sauce and add a drizzle of blossom honey too. But, if you're not up for dessert effort, you'll win over everyone with little chunks of parmigiano-reggiano (think a generous mouthful) drizzled with good honey and sprinkled with crushed toasted almonds. killer with prosecco.
other than some olives and bread for everyone to nosh on casually, i'd leave it at that. the risotto is quite filling. you don't want folks too catatonic :)
Here is one I made recently:
1. Crostini with gorgonzola dolce and pine nuts (whip the gorgonzola with butter, parsley and pine nuts, spread on crostini and bake to melt cheese until bubbly). WINE: prosecco
2. Seafood salad -- calamari, mussels, clams and shrimp cooked and served at room temperature in a lemon - olive oil vinaigrette with a pinch of chile flakes and a hint of garlic, and throw in some sliced celery and red bell pepper or cherry tomatoes for color, served on a bed of butter lettuce leaves or on radicchio. WINE: a soave classico from the Veneto is good here -- I like Pieropan and Gini. Or if you want a southern Italian wine, I would suggest a Falanghina or a Greco di Tufo.
3. Pasta "roses" (this is from a Marcella Hazan cookbook) -- basically lasagna noodles rolled up with good quality Italian ham (not prosciutto) and fontina cheese, with a light cream and tomato sauce). WINE: Chianti Classico Riserva or Rosso di Montalcino if you like Tuscan wines. Also good would be an Umbrian Sagrantino would be good with it as well. I'm also partial to taurasi or aglianico from Campania.
4. Steamed asparagus served at room temperature with a warm dressing of softened shallots with orange juice and orange zest on top. NO WINE.
5. Affogato (gelato with espresso poured over the top) or do a classic Italian cheese course with seasonal fruit.
this really isn't suitable unless your party is not for several months...lots of summer produce...but I had to chime in with last year's party menu.
hors d': good olives, mini pizzas, fig halves stuffed w/ goat cheese and drizzled w/ honey and herbs.
salads : proscuitto and melon skewers , caprese salad,
good ciabatta from a local bakery
main: pasta w/ Mario's basic tomato sauce + roasted yellow peppers + grilled shrimp
dessert: butter cake layered w/ lemon curd topped w/ whipped cream and fresh berries (followed by tiny fudge-y brownie sqares)