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Italian casserole?

I am having a Valentine's Dinner Party for couples at our church. I have no idea (yet) how many people will be there, but I can safely guess between 10-18 couples. I will know when the tickets are sold.
I am thinking of having bruschetta at their tables, the buffet style for the main meal, and dessert served.
Is there a good casserole that isn't typical, ie: lasagna, pizza, or the like that I can use? I am trying to make it something that I can make a lot of, but without it being boring. Am I making any sense?
If you have a recipe, that would be wonderful also.

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    1. How about a butternut squash lasagna?

      1. The trouble with bruschetta at the tables is that bruschetta does not improve with sitting around waiting, if that's what you meant. Salami, olives, and marinated vegetables with a basket of bread gives you more flexibility.

        As for the casserole, you can combine vegetables, mushrooms, bechamel, cheese, and optionally bits of ham with somewhat undercooked short pasta in a baking dish, top with dots of butter and some grated cheese and bake till brown. The proportions are variable and you skip the tedious layering of lasagne.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mbfant

          D'accordo! Te suggero usare ditalini.

          Translation: I agree! I suggest you use 'ditalini' (short pasta).

          1. re: mbfant

            I like your post mbfant.
            agree about the bruschetta, it can sog up quickly.
            also like the casserole idea.
            who wouldn't like a boatful of veggies with lots of wonderful fragrant mushrooms and bechamel lots of cheese butter and bits of meat strewn throughout, I'd sure be happy :)

            Always remember though, things like these types of pasta dishes can go dry really quickly.
            The pasta just sucks in all the liquid and you're left with dry and bland so timing is important also.
            Do you plan on setting this all up before and having in chaffing dishes or a buffet line?
            One big giant casserole serving dish?

          2. Giada's Chicken Tettrazini with a large salad would fit the bill. It's delicious and easy to make too. I switch out the spaghettin to ziti for easier serving squares though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mcel215

              Giada's Chicken Tettrazini is delicious!

              I also enjoy this Giada dish. I use less pasta (I like it saucier) and have added Italian sausage to take it a little further. You can also use any combo of vegetables you choose - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

              Enjoy!

            2. I have made this Baked Ziti for small groups and it is very popular.Two things- bake it in a lasagna dish and use top ingredients, i.e. imported pasta and fresh sausage,olives, basil and cheeses.
              http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe...