I'm cooking an Italian dinner next weekend for 10 people and I need help deciding on some of the dishes. Here are my thoughts:
First course: Antipasto. Mostly stuff I'm going to buy at the local Italian deli -- lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella, prosciutto, olives, provolone, salami, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers....anything else?
Second course: Mushroom Ravioli which I'm going to make on Tuesday and have ready to throw in boiling water. Should I serve it with sauce? I tend to think that good ravioli doesn't need anything except a little butter and a little romano, but maybe other people wouldn't agree.
Third course: Some kind of main dish meat or fish, something not too complicated that can easily be enough for 10. A chicken dish would be best -- these people are big chicken fans -- but nothing that involves chicken breast, as several of us much prefer dark meat. Broccoli rabe sauted w/ garlic and risotto and bread on the side.
Dessert: Not tira misu. Something I can prepare in advance. Something chocolately?
This appetizer is always a hit:
Your choices are good, I'd get some stuffed olives and stuffed cherry peppers as well. Slice up a good crusty Italian bread too, maybe a little bruschetta on the side?
I'd add some cream to the sauce for the ravioli. Shave some Parmiggiano Reggiano, perhaps? Yum.
Meat: not my forte.
Dessert: ricotta cheesecake.
If your preference is chicken dark meat, you could make a cacciatore.
However, my favorite Italian meat dish is a simple grilled steak with arugula and olive oil with sliced strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar.
As noted you need a good Italian bread for bruscetta or crostini. Toast the bread and rub it with a garlic clove.
An excellent side veg is asparagus wrapped with proscuitto that has been "buttered" with pesto. Steam the asparagus for a few minutes. Take slices of proscuitto and spread pesto on them and roll it around the asparagus. Put the asparagus on a sheet pan in groups of 3 or 4 and sprinkle with grated parmagiano and put under the broiler until the parm melts.
Ravioli - brown butter and sage is a nice sauce.
Meat dish - I often make a wonderful porchetta, that is a stuffed butterflied pork loin - easily serves ten and is made ahead of time and served at room temp. If you are interested, I'll find the link to the recipe I've posted.
I would go with some roasted birds either pouissons or smaller chickens, it makes a very dramatic presentation to have several birds on a platter- I would do a hi roast , put a ton of olives thyme and shallots in the roasting pan with some halved lemons- has a very med feel. With the pouissons you could also stuff sausage under the skin to keep them moist and add another level of flavor- especially one with a ton of fennel.
As far as dessert why don't you try a riccota chocolate cheesecake- make ahead and everyone always goes bonkers for it with some fresh fruit and a great italian dessert wine or sparkling wine