Need dinner party suggestions (Italian theme)
I'm planning a dinner party for about 20 people (could be 30 if all invited show) and need some help with the menu. This will be be buffet style and laid back in terms of serving/eating (think late 20 somethings with lots of vino and very hungry). I had a similar party in the past and will stick with some of the favorites but need to round out the menu.
Thus far I will be making a Sausage and Pepper Lasagna, an Eggplant Parmesan, and Gnocchi with Gorogonzola Cream Sauce. I'm thinking of adding grilled chicken and/or shrimp with pesto and a Spinach Mushroom and Artichoke Casserole. I'll also have a large salad (likely Caesar). What is missing? Are there flavors I am forgetting? I've added in a Spagetti Carbonara in the past. I'm also trying to keep a balance between meat and non meat dishes (menu needs to be vegetarian friendly).
As for starters I'm at a bit of a loss aside from the usual suspects of tapenades and an antipasto platter. Any suggestions for quick and make ahead?
Finally dessert is stumping me. I want to make Tiramisu but need a good trusted recipe. And, I'd love to make it more cocktail friendly, perhaps a cupcake or other single serve suggestion.
I'm open to suggestions and have plenty of time to prepare (3 weeks).
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
6 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier) or orange juice
1 pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
28 soft ladyfingers or 2 (12-ounce) pound cakes, cut into 3 by 1 by 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 (1/2 dry pint) baskets fresh raspberries (about 3 3/4 cups total)
½ cup slivered almonds
Stir the jam and 4 tablespoons of the orange liqueur in a small bowl to blend. Combine the mascarpone and remaining 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur in a large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Line the bottom of a13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish or other decorative serving dish with half of the ladyfingers. Spread half of the jam mixture over the ladyfingers. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the jam mixture, then cover with half of the fresh raspberries. Repeat layering with the remaining ladyfingers, jam mixture, mascarpone mixture and raspberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Sprinkle almonds right before serving.
alot of heavies there......maybe something like this would be nice?
maybe a nice fennel salad...
or...i don't know how authentic this one is...but it sounds good:
i'm not really sure if this is an italian starter per se...but i've seen some nice recipes for white bean dip/spread with rosemary sort of things....serve with crostini
I have a friend who does a nice grilled calamari dish. she lays out a fine crumb mixture with garlic and i think a bit of parmesan, S&P etc on a cookie sheet ( i don't know the exact combos)......uses long strips of squid (say one third of tube or even half), skewered on metal skewers, and does them on the bbq ( or i guess indoor grill this time of year)....very little time per side,...take them off gril and roll em around a little on the cookie sheet. This is very good.
i am not a fan of tiramisu myself...but any kind of hazelnut torte or cheescake, mascarpone cheesecake or zabaglione might be nice. However if i was going to go with a tiramisu, it'd be probably something like this
i also love cannoli and florentines.