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Need one more Italian dish please

Having my son's bday party next week...this is the family/adult one. I'm making Italian since I need to be able to prep a lot the night before.

Will have meatballs (in the crockpot) with some Italian bread so people can make subs if they wish.

Baked ziti

Salad

There will be other smaller items like marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, olives, etc. But I feel like I need one more hearty item. Any ideas? I thought about lasagna, but that's basically baked ziti in another form. And this item can be assembled day off, since I can do most everything else the night before.

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  1. How about pork? Like an Italian roast pork, simply sliced. They could also make sandwiches with that.

    1. Lentil and tomato stew with pancetta or fennel sausage.
      Or maybe fennel baked with cream, garlic and parmesan.

      1. Braciole- but, you've got beef in the meatballs (I assume), and so alternatively, I'd suggest Chicken Cacciatore. Particularly if you make it with some or all dark meat, it can be made earlier and will still be moist when held warm for a while.
        It's also an alternative protein to beef and pork.

        1 Reply
        1. re: monavano

          You rule monavano. Beat me to it. Recommend all thighs so there will be no discourse over who got stick with the nearly meatless drumstick.

        2. arancini?
          a big antipasti platter w/ various meats and cheeses?
          eggplant stuffed with ground pork?
          http://www.calabriafromscratch.com/?p...

          10 Replies
          1. re: Novelli

            Or just good ol' Eggplant Parmigiana. Especially if anyone leans toward vegetarian, make it with marinara.

            1. re: coll

              +1
              and it's a real easy thing to prepare, do that, then bake, done.
              my take on it is we're not crazy crazy for eggplant, but if I do half eggplant and half zucchini, it's grand

              1. re: iL Divo

                and it's a real easy thing to prepare.....

                I beg to differ....: 0)

                1. re: fourunder

                  Yeah it takes me about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to throw together a pan of eggplant parm, as long as I have the sauce already made. And pretty messy. Worth it though.

                  1. re: coll

                    My curse is that I know what most food cost is for any dish....eggplant is dirt cheap, but it the one dish I will over pay for for someone else to prepare for me precisely for the the reasons you have cited.. After all the slicing, drying, coating, breading and frying....factored in with the time and cost of Olive Oil used.....I just rather pay the 10-15 bucks and let someone else do it for me.

                    BTW...I tried the Waffle maker method....nice....but still more work than I need to do.

                    : 0 )

                    1. re: fourunder

                      I tried the waffle method and didn't like it. I do it all by hand, peel, slice, flour, egg mix then flour/breading, and finally fry one by one: No one else's tastes the same, that is my curse. Money for once is no object. Think it's time for a batch! (plus snitching some fresh fried eggplant right out of the oil is a reward of its own)

                      1. re: coll

                        i LOVE eggplant and love the parm. i never make it though because of the time and mess factor.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          I know what you mean, I have to actually set the time aside.

                  2. re: fourunder

                    yea, it's real easy for me to prepare, may be a chore for others fourunder

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      Sounds to me like a labor of love....I envy your family.

            2. Nothing better than a good antipasto platter.

              1 Reply