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Dec 30, 2007 03:47 PM

Menu Ideas--Small Plates/Italian

Looking for some ideas to round out a menu for tomorrow night. We're doing a semi-Italian "small plates" thing. So far, we're planning:

Cheese course
Two kinds of bruschetta---one a Tuscan white bean, the other TBD (any ideas?)
Tuna crudo
Wild mushroom risotto

I feel like we need one or two other, not too difficult items, plus dessert. Only catch is that it needs to be dairy/fish/vegetarian. Any thoughts??

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  1. Roasted asparagus, perhaps topped with slivers of Parmesan
    Broccoli with garlic chips
    Roasted cauliflower
    Stuffed mushrooms
    Sauteed red peppers with balsamic vinegar
    Stuffed artichoke bottoms
    Eggplant sandwiches (bake egglplant until lightly browned; top with mixture of anchovies, parsely and capers; top with Fontina and another slice of eggplant; brush with oil and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese starts to melt)
    Tuscan beans (I usually do this with tuna, but can be just as good without)

    1. This is always a crowd pleaser....(and I am not usually a fan of sundried tomatoes.)

      soak in water and once hydrated drain sundried tomatoes. Once drained, marinate sundried tomatoes in garlic, basil and extra virgin OO. Overnight is good. Buy a nice loaf of Italian bread and fresh mozzerella cheese. Slice bread, slice cheese and top with sundried tomato and a basil leaf. Serve at room temp.

      Another suggestion....Stuffed mushrooms-
      chop mushroom stems, large onion, a few cloves of garlic and add to a frying pan with OO. Once cooked add two-four anchovies and a few drops of anchovy oil and cook a few minutes longer. Let cool to room temp. To mixture add chopped parsley, bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese.

      Stuff the mushrooms and top with OO and lemon juice. Bake.

      One more.... Roast your own red peppers! So easy, so delicious!

      1. Hi PetiteSyrah,

        Some ideas that I have include:
        For your bruschetta, you can try chickpeas (the amuse served at Babbo in NYC), eggplant, or roasted pepper. Of course I suppose classic tomato or pesto never hurt.

        May be you you can add one more vegetable dish and one more seafood (does it have to be fish?):
        - fried cauliflower wedges or brussel sprouts with shaved parmigiano & agliata
        - fried eggplant with ricotta
        - zucchini & parmigiano fritters or fried cipolline fritters, served with some spicy tomato Sauce or aioli
        - Simplest: pan fried broccoli rabe topped with crispy shallots and almonds

        - grilled shrimp / calamari / scallops on top of small bite-sized polenta
        - sardines with spicy tomato / pepper sauces

        For desserts:
        - gorgonzolce dolce dip with walnuts and grapes
        - cheesecake (for more Italian try goat cheese cake or ricotta cheesecake) with roasted fig, served in small martini glass
        - mini panna cotto (a small cup for each person), or mini cannoli
        - simplest: buy sorbet or gelato with more "Italian" flavors - blood orange, mascapone, expresso, cappoccino, tiramisu, etc., served with mini Italian cookies (amerettos, coconut macaroons,pignioli)
        - another simple one: If you can get fresh strawberries, the strawberries with mascapone or balsamic syrup will do!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kobetobiko

          If you can get Ciao Bella gelato and sorbetto this would be great with some biscotti.

        2. how about some arincini (italian rice balls)?

          1 Reply
          1. re: soypower

            Simmer dried figs in spiced port wine (balsamic, or vincotto), roll in finely chopped walnuts, stuff with bleu cheese.

            Mix pesto with panko (japanese breadcrumbs) stuff into a slit up the back of some shrimp. Skewer the shrimp then grill, broil or saute while basting with lemon and olive oil

            Frito misto- make paper thin slices of veggies (plus calamari and/or anchovies if you like) dust with seasoned flour (or I like to you flour, semolina and cornmeal) and fry- serve with aioli dipping sauce. Good veg for this includes- fennel, peppers, zucchini, radicchio, onion, lemons, artichoke heats, green beans, eggplant.. etc

            Drain and dry a can of chickpeas. mix some cornstarch and salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Toss the chickpeas with it and shake off the excess. Saute on high heat in a bit of olive oil until starting to brown then transfer to a 350 oven until crispy. Drain and serve.

          2. Venice has a tradition of small tapas-like items. I don't offhand recall their name for this.

            2 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              chicecci? (not sure of the spelling)

              1. re: OysterHo

                cicheti (or cicchetti, or variations thereof). (web search is complicated by the fact that this is also a surname).