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Italian bbq menu for 20 tomorrow help please

My DH is having 20 or so colleagues(not to mention higher-ups!) in tomorrow and has decided the main dish is bbq'd Italian sausage (from Spolumbo's for any Calgary people reading this)... so I need to come up with a casual menu working around his main.

So far:

starter: prosciutto wrapped melon
crostini (any ideas other than a tomato bruschetta?)
arancini

side: tomato and boccocini salad
what else do you serve with sausage on a bun?
any ideas for a vegetarian option that can be grilled?

dessert: I'd like to try making a semifreddo but it might not be the best fit for this event. Ideas? DH also wants to serve a fruit platter...but I thought there should be something else... mini cannolies maybe?

As you can see I'm all over the place. I just sent 8 houseguests home Thursday morning... I think I'm too tired to focus. As always any suggestions you have will be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance! :)

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  1. You could grill up some veggies as a side. Some zucchini and eggplant sliced lengthwise and grilled with some olive oil and herbs would be yummy. Onions might work nicely too.

    Whenever we would have a big party, my mom would make a big container's worth of tiramisu. Make it the night before...so there's one less thing to think of the day of!

    1. serve some grill-wokked or sauteed bell peppers and onions with the sausages. you can pick up storebought polenta in a tube, slice it & grill *on well-oiled grilling surface.* (note that you can sic your "DH" on these items, taking pressure off of yourself). if you saute some fava beans or baby limas with fresh herbs and seasonings, you can pour them over the polenta with the peppers and onions, and there's your vegetarian option. non-veg folks can enjoy it as a side dish with or without the beans.

      given the time frame and that its your DH's colleagues and higher ups, i don't think it's out of line to buy a quality premade dessert or italian cookies/pastry from a local italian deli or bakery. that way you can get the rest you need & you'll still have time to get everything ready.

      1 Reply
      1. re: soupkitten

        Thanks soupkitten, I bought DH a grilling basket last Father's Day - I think the peppers and onions would make good use of it plus he'll look like a hero doing veggies on the grill lol. I think we'll test drive grilling polenta tonight :)

      2. You could do some sort of chicken liver crostini. Sounds like a good menu - good luck!

        4 Replies
        1. re: MMRuth

          Great idea! Chicken livers are great on the grill- my family does them on skewers with a bay leaf between the livers, all squashed together so that the leaf touches the liver. The result is subtle but a definite presence- that bay leaf really does make a difference. Cut them in half (or, heck, just leave them whole) and put them on the crostini- maybe with even a silght drizzle of reduced balsamic.

          Another crostini idea, and vegetarian friendly, would be some cannelini spread.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Thanks MMRuth, would you do the semifreddo or the cannolies? I can cheat and buy cannoli "shells" at the local italian market... the semifreddo is er intimidating in that if it doesn't turn out then I'm running to the bakery the morning of plus it seems overly formal for a bbq..or maybe it's me?

            1. re: maplesugar

              I agree - it sounds like the cannoli might be the way to go for this. I'm actually not a big fan of either, but that's a personal texture thing! I'd keep it easy for dessert - sounds like you have enough else to do!

              1. re: MMRuth

                lol I do, and what's funny is DH is not worried one bit. I think, since you mentioned the texture thing, I'll get some treats from the bakery so there's some variety...and a bit less work for me :)

          2. Panne cotta served from a large glass bowl with a fruit coulis for topping indivudually. You can do this in advance and it is both stable (if its hot) and less fussy.

            1. I love Cassata Cake for dessert. And my recipe is kind of a cheat - you layer angel food cake peices with sweetened ricotta filling, then frost with a boiled white frosting. It might be a little more work than you are looking for, though.