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Thoughts on Italian Reception food

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Hey Everyone,

I am have a Master's recital in May, and it is customary to throw a reception. I've decided on Italian themed foods, since I am part Sicilian/Calabrian and have a special tie to the culture and cuisine. Here's what I was thinking for 50-60 people:

-Italian meatballs, made my my Nonna (with rolls on the side to make a sandwich)
-Italian sausage and peppers, made my my mom
-caponata
-arancini bites
-olives, marinated artichokes, veggie platter
-cheese & meat platter
-bruschetta
-crostinis with fresh ricotta and various toppings
-melon wrapped in prosciutto
-caprese salad bites
-tiramisu shooters
-various biscotti
-mini cannoli

And of course, coffee, tea, various drinks, etc.

How does this sound? Is there anything that could be left off for simplicity, as everything will be homemade? I am nervous about the arancini bites because I've never made them and am worried about how to keep them hot and crispy if I make them early in the morning?

Also, would the mini cannoli get soggy if they were filled the morning of and served in mid afternoon?

Thanks for your advice and comments!

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  1. You have plenty of variety without the arancini bites or mini cannoli. Save making those for a smaller gathering another time.

    Leave some of the melon unwrappped, for those who don't eat meat/pork.

    The cheese & meat platter could be just cheeses since you have 2 meat options already.

    1. Having been in your shoes (I'm an opera singer with a BM and MM), I would say that you can simplify this A LOT and people will still walk away satisfied. Definitely drop the arancini, because keeping them hot and crisp will be impossible. Don't pre-make the bruschetta/crostini - just have the bread and a couple of toppings and let people do it themselves (caponata could be one of these toppings, but there's no need for it if you have a nice vegetable antipasto platter). The mini cannoli will probably be ok but you really don't need them - the tiramisu and biscotti will be plenty.

      Also, I would not plan on doing any of this yourself on the day of your recital. You will have plenty to worry about getting ready, going over your program mentally, etc. Do what you can the day or two before and leave the rest to mom/grandma (if they can handle it and are willing). In bocca al lupo!

      5 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        Thank you so much for the advice! This will be for my Masters recital in opera as well. I am gonna nix the arancini and outsource the cannoli and other desserts to a great Italian bakery in town.

        My boyfriend will definitely handle all of the day-of stuff, so I can relax on focusing on everything else.

        I agree that the crostini don't need to be pre-assembled. I'll have lots of platters of stuff for people to do what they want with. Thanks again!

        1. re: delleelise

          Excellent idea to outsource to a great bakery! You don't need the added stress.

          1. re: delleelise

            Good deal - with BF, mom and grandma on the case, you should be all set! What's on your program?

            1. re: biondanonima

              I'm doing three Verdi songs, Chausson's Chanson perpetuelle with quartet, four Brentanolieder, three English pieces by Hoiby, Biggs and Barber and then the Canciones, amatorias. :)

              1. re: delleelise

                Sounds like a great program. I did the Chausson on my Bachelor's recital - so beautiful! Have a great time!

        2. I'd 86 the arancini and think about eggplant Parm for a meatless entree.
          Otherwise, this will be an amazing event!

          1 Reply
          1. re: monavano

            Oh, the eggplant parm is a great idea! I'm def. ditching the arancini!

          2. Also, the cannoli will be fine.

            1. God bless your Nonna for making meatballs for 50-60 people! I think it sounds wonderful! Agree that an eggplant parm would be good, but make it a day ahead. Arancini will be hard to keep crispy. And also agree to enlist help the day of so you can concentrate on your program. Congratulations and best of luck!

              1. I've had arancini served room temp, and they were fine. Just saying.

                No wine? ;-)

                1 Reply
                1. re: coll

                  Oooo I gotta look up the wine thing. It'll be on a UC campus and I think unless I ID everyone, there could be some issues with wine... might as well look it up though to see!

                2. i'd skip the caprese bites, the arancini, and i'd omit the meat on the cheese and the meat platter.

                  i agree that the menu is very meat centric, and having something like eggplant parm that vegetarians could eat would be nice. this would also cover anybody who has a concern about the possibility that pork is a part of the meatballs or the sausage (i'm seeing more people eschewing pork than eschewing all meat).

                  agree that the melon would be better without being wrapped in prosciutto (pork factor, meat factor)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Italy is a very meat-centric place if you haven't noticed. Thanks for your input. I'm getting rid of the arancini, keeping the caprese bites for the vegetarians and will have a fruit platter with other fruits for them if they don't enjoy the combo of prosciutto and melon. Not too worried about vegetarians or people eschewing meat. You can only tailor these things to a point...

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      Sounds like she knows who her guests are.

                    2. My only advice is that if you have never made something before, do not make it for the first time when serving guests... especiially 50-60 of them. Ditch the arancini; you have plenty eithout them.

                      1. You hit a lot of my favs, the mini cannoli should hold up well as they have less filling that the large. Keep the arancini in a low oven, they'll stay crisp and warm. When should I show up.