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Italian Feast

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Thinking about doing something different for a post Christmas dinner with friends. I usually do seafood and a nice cut of beef, but I think I'm going to change it up this year with some fun Italian foods. So far I'm planning antipasti, salad, Marcella Hazan's veal in parchment, lobster and crab cannelloni, and risotto.

If you could add or take away from this menu, would would it look like? I feel like it's missing something or doesn't quite work.

Thanks, Hounders!

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  1. Are you doing a dessert too?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Musie

      Yes, I'm still not certain what that will be. Any ideas are more than welcome!

      1. re: FoodChic

        End the feast with a classic Tiramisu or a gelato paired with Kahlua biscotti.

    2. It sounds pretty good as is but I would just add one green side, probably green beans...something simple. And, make sure your antipasto includes a wide variety of items: meats/cheeses/vinegared veggies/olives. I sometimes include chunks of "good" tuna in EVOO. If it's going to be a sit down dinner the order would be:
      Antipasto
      Lobster & crab cannelloni
      Veal in Parchment
      Risotto
      Dolce...
      Happy Christmas!

      7 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        Why do you suggest following the meat course with the risotto?

        1. re: FrankJBN

          I would eat the risotto with the meat and serve salad after the meat.

          1. re: melpy

            Frank... I should have listed the veal w the risotto as melpy said. Was going to but forgot. I also forgot to list the salad which I would serve after the meat... Although I sometimes have put the salad bowl on the table with the meat course.

            1. re: Gio

              That sounds more like it to me.

              1. re: FrankJBN

                Yeah... I also should have had another cup of coffee.

          2. re: FrankJBN

            I am Italian, so in an italian dinner, the order of the courses would be the following:
            -antipasto (usually we have back at home sliced ham, salami or others sliced Italian meats with what you'd call pickled veg or at Christmas something like a prawn cocktail would be ok as well)
            -risotto (this together with any pasta dish or rice dish is a first course and we NEVER eat in Italy rice or pasta together with a meat course, you would never see chicken and rice in Italy as a dish) or cannelloni as an alternative first course.
            -veal
            -dolce which around Christmas would be Pandoro or Panettone, maybe stuffed with custard or chocolate cream.

          3. re: Gio

            I'd probably serve the risotto as the primi between the antipasto and the lobster & crab cannelloni, treating the cannelloni as the fish course.

            I'd serve cassata for a festive dessert, or maybe budino, for something lower key.

          4. What are you doing for the risotto dish?

            If me I would do a mushroom and fresh spinach risotto ( I still use the recipe ad nauseum I got out of Bon Appetit a decade ago) to try and keep it a little lighter , or if doing a heartier risotto, then I;d do a large batch of fresh spinach or brocolli rabe sauteed on the cooktop until tender in olive oil with sliced garlic, chili flakes and seasonings of choice. It cooks quick and holds well.

            When doing a protein heavy Italian meal along with pasta or a starch, the fresh sauteed greens tend to balance out the color and textures of the other dishes. Plus--it's really friggin' good for ya...LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

            If you can get lady fingers and marscapone cheese, I always do tiramisu.
            It's an easy make ahed by a few days desset that you can toss in the fridge.

            Or go buy some pints of spumoni. I can get it all day in pints in my area.

            Good luck.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jjjrfoodie

              On the lightening up the risotto end, what about doing a farro risotto which would be nuttier and less heavy. And yes sauteed greens would be awesome. I love Broccoli rabe drizzled with a balsamic reduction and sprinkled with pine nuts.

            2. I’m seeing a very rich meal that is heavy on starches/cheese and lacking vegetables.

              1. Add a green vegetable side dish, broccoli or green beans sautéed with a little garlic.

              2. I would drop either the cannelloni or the risotto. A good compromise would be to make a lobster/crab risotto.

              3. Desserts = christmas in Italy always reminds me of zabaione, however you may want something lighter than that so what about a pumpkin Panna Cotta.

              8 Replies
              1. re: RetiredChef

                I'm with RetiredChef, pasta and rice is too much. Is this going to be served as a buffet or in courses?

                1. re: escondido123

                  "I would drop either the cannelloni or the risotto. A good compromise would be to make a lobster/crab risotto."

                  I agree that risotto AND cannelloni are too much. In Italy, they are both considered a primi course and most people would not eat both at the same meal. I think a lobster/crab risotto as RetiredChef suggests is an excellent idea.

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    I like that idea very much.

                2. re: RetiredChef

                  I am serving a large green salad, and the veal contains asparagus. Do you think I need a veggie with it?

                  Here is the veal in parchement recipe http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/pomodori...

                  1. re: FoodChic

                    Maybe Broccoli Rabe or Spinach sauteed in oil and garlic ? My wifes Italian family love both.

                    1. re: FoodChic

                      It really depends upon your guests and what they eat. Most of the people I usually cook for eat’s lots of vegetables so I would make it and my crowd would devour it, the salad, and the asparagus and probably ask for more. However if your group isn’t much into the vegetables than it might be a waste. You could always get extra asparagus and have some extra on the side for those who want it or put another layer of asparagus under the veal for those so inclined to eat more (you could also use the sautéed spinach idea and place the veal on top of it.

                      No matter what you decide your friends will love it.

                      1. re: FoodChic

                        Wow, asparagus in December? Really?! Does that cost a lot? or is it shipped in from out of the country?

                        I would probably consider some good in-season fresh winter veg like roasted cauliflower, broccoli/rabe, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, winter squash. Maybe some root veg as well?

                        just my 2 cents.

                        1. re: Novelli

                          We live in Texas, and have an amazing gourmet grocery store with fabulous aspargus year round. I suspect this time of year it comes from Mexico.

                    2. Il menu e' meraviglioso. Sto affamato! Quando e' la festa? Devo avere un invito?

                      1. Along with your dolce, add affogato, with or without a liqueur.

                        1. I would have some stuffed artichokes in there somewhere.