Italian people have consistently been recognized for one unique thing, which could be enjoyed by everyone, anywhere: their food. This reputation has grown over many years.
Because Italian cuisine is so versatile worldwide, it’s a great choice for a social gathering supper. In fact, rather than merely using Italian food for the party, you can employ a complete Italian theme to design your own Italian-American dinner party that your guests will be talking about for years to come. Doing so will ensure that the party will be memorable for a long time.
The perfect day to have your Italian-American dinner party is one on which your invitees will have plenty of time to loiter around the house and sample each and every dish you have prepared for them. This day of the week is typically observed as Sunday in Italy. Since many people attend morning mass services, the informal gathering typically begins around one in the afternoon and continues until the evening, when it is time for you to take your children home to bed.
The atmosphere of your very own Italian-American dinner party might be one of ease and pleasure. The meal itself, as opposed to the table setting or the decorations in the room, ought to be the primary focus. Your tablecloth ought to be made of plain white linen, and there is no requirement that flowers be placed on the table.
A dish of almonds, fresh breads, plates of grated locatelli or parmesan cheese, and basic crushed red pepper flakes make the perfect centerpieces. Your dinner service might consist of the dishes you use regularly, and you can even include straightforward dinnerware made of plastic for the younger guests.
Wine is a traditional accompaniment to meals in Italy, and the selection of wines you will be offering is sure to provide a perfect balance to the numerous dishes typical of Italian cuisine. An austere wine is a beverage that will go well with the meal at an Italian-American dinner party. Provide soda and bottled water for visitors who don’t want to drink alcohol.
For the first food course at your Italian-American dinner party, you should serve an antipasto that includes meats (such as ham, salami, and prosciutto), vegetables marinated in oil, cheeses such as provolone and mozzarella, and roasted red peppers. The antipasto portion of your meal may be presented on a platter or may be combined together in a bowl and then topped with an Italian dressing.
A straightforward Italian soup should be served as the second cuisine dish at your Italian-American dinner party. The soup must be given in individual portions because the people who are present won’t be able to enjoy the other parts of the meal.
In most restaurants, the main course of pasta with tomato sauce is served after the antipasto and soup courses have been served. Most people like homemade ravioli, lasagne, or manicotti with a meat sauce that may or may not include meatballs. You also have the option to omit meatballs from the sauce entirely.
You can choose to serve delicacies like sweet potatoes, artichokes, salads, or string beans in addition to your main dish if you want to mix things up a bit. You want people to pay attention to the meal you’ve prepared as the main course, but you should also offer them a selection of other foods to pick from.
Choose something from the following list to serve as dessert at your Italian-American dinner party: freshly picked fruits in season, figs, cakes, cookies, or an Italian pastry. Because your guests will most likely be quite full, you should make preparations to serve dessert at least an hour after the main course and give them the option of having something light rather than anything rich and heavy.
It amazes me that most Italian families spend Sundays doing the above. Considering how they can consume all this stuff weekly without putting on a significant amount of weight is utterly perplexing. On the other hand, a typical Italian feast is an excellent option for a simple menu that is simple to prepare and that guests of all ages, including children, will love if you wish to host a dinner party every so often.
When organizing an Italian-American dinner party, the most essential thing to remember is that the focus should be on your guests and the cuisine, not on how clean, and well-organized your home is. Make some delicious meals, and spend quality time with your friends and family.
Dinner Party Decorations
La Tavola: The Table
How the table is set is the fundamental component of an authentic Italian dinner party. On the table, there should be both still and sparkling water, as well as wine, and everyone should be seated so that they are facing and adjacent to another guest. Setting the table in advance with a casual tablecloth and empty plates is essential.
This leaves plenty of room in the center of the table for guests to self-serve from large plates of food, which is required at an authentic Italian feast because pre-portioning is prohibited. Couples should sit next to each other, and family members who disagree should sit at opposite ends of the table (or face each other if you’re worried about things getting boring).
What To Serve When Your Guests Arrive
In Italy, the consumption of an aperitivo is considered to be customary before the consumption of a hearty meal. A drink and a few stuzzichini, which are salty snacks, are the typical components of an aperitivo, which is meant to get a diner’s appetite going before the meal. The word “opener” comes from the Latin word “aperire,” which is where we get the word “aperitivo.”
The aperitivo, on the other hand, is much more than just the first act of the performance. It is a moment, perhaps a ritual, that native Italians have observed for centuries. These people understand the importance of leisure and savoring even the most insignificant occasions without feeling rushed. An aperitivo is most enjoyable when shared with others as it signals the end of the day.
Do you fancy something with a bit more kick? Why not serve a spritz as a traditional and well-liked example of an Italian aperitivo? Order a Negroni, which is the local drink of choice in Florence.
Antipasti are essentially the same as “nibbles” in English. To serve antipasti in a manner that is authentically Italian, you should lay out all of the ingredients on wooden chopping boards and provide your guests with hunks of parmesan cheese and small bowls of extra virgin olive oil to snack on while they wait. In most cases, this will include a selection of cured meats and hams, also known as salumi, as well as Italian cheese, olives, and either grissini (breadsticks) or bread.
What Drinks To Serve
Il vino: The Wine
Every course of the celebration should be accompanied by a wine that piques the diner’s interest in true Italian fashion. White wine is traditionally served with chicken or fish, whereas red wine is served with red meat. White wine is offered with white meat and red wine with red meat. If you’re planning on serving pasta at an Italian-themed dinner party, check out our guide to the best wines to pair with pasta. Don’t forget to drink some strong Italian coffee and digestivo after dinner.
The Perfect Menu
Il Cibo: The Food
A typical Italian dinner party menu includes 5 to 8 courses, including aperitivo and antipasti: primo, secondo, contorno e insalata, dolce, formaggi e frutti, and caffe e digestivo. Are you scratching your head, unsure what to prepare for this opulent Italian dinner with multiple courses? Don’t worry; I have everything under control.
In Italy, pasta is usually served as an appetizer, not the main dish. Pasta portions in Italy are typically relatively small. Fresh pasta is recommended because it can be prepared quickly and won’t keep your visitors waiting.
I recommend you select a pasta dish that features flavors that are complementary to those of your main course. Try something like tagliatelle al limone or delicious ravioli with truffle butter if you’re looking for something that’s a little more summery and light. You could serve your guests some deliciously creamy carbonara with a refreshing Vermentino, or you could try beef shin ragù with fresh pappardelle paired with a rich Tuscan Chianti. Both of these dishes are great options for something that is both warm and comforting.
It is customary in Italy to serve meat and fish as the second course of a meal. These courses are prepared with delicate flavors and seasonings so as not to make the meal “troppo pesante,” which translates to “too heavy.” A traditional secondo course might consist of roasted lamb or chicken topped with a sprinkling of fresh rosemary and thyme before being served. Another dish sure to please the masses is a sizable piece of fish brushed with olive oil and grilled. However, a second cannot be considered finished without adding some appropriate contorni.
The word contorni comes from the Italian word for “sides” or accompaniments.” The word “contorni” is a direct descendant of the Italian word “contorno,” which means “outline” or “contour.” The term refers to how these accompaniments give the main dish more form and distinction. A typical serving of contorni includes a medley of roasted potatoes and vegetables that have been cooked. Considering those mentioned above, if you want something lighter to eat during the warmer months, consider serving lightly grilled vegetables such as asparagus or courgette dressed in Italian extra virgin olive oil.
If your contorni does not include any vegetables with leafy greens, a straightforward salad may be served at this stage of the meal; however, it is not required that this take place. The uncomplicated salad that consists of leafy greens drizzled with high-quality olive oil and seasoned with a dash of salt and pepper is a favorite.
Formaggi e Frutti
You might decide to serve some seasonal fruits and a cheese board from Italy at the end of the meal. The cheese board might also include some nuts.
The icing on the cake, or the ciliegina sulla torta, as it were, to your Italian feast. There is no more delectable and decadent Italian dessert than a tiramisu, and if you have room for one more (bravissima!), you should absolutely order one.
Caffe e Digestivo
Drinkable liqueurs, such as the well-liked mirto of Sardinia or the time-honored limoncello, make for excellent digestivi and can be consumed in or in addition to dessert. Even if you don’t have room for dessert, you should follow the example of the Italians and put a drop or two of liqueur in your after-dinner coffee. Personally, I like to put amaro or fernet branca in mine.
The Top Ten Favorite Italian Dishes
Below are the top ten traditional Italian dishes enjoyed by people of all ages and should be sampled at least once.
1. Lasagna Bolognese
Both adults and children like the hearty and flavorful taste of lasagne Bolognese, which is served as an entrée during the traditional Sunday lunch meal. Bechamel sauce, bolognese sauce, and a generous amount of parmesan cheese are layered with layers of freshly produced lasagne sheets in this dish. It doesn’t matter what you’re celebrating; a traditional Lasagne Bolognese is always a good choice.
2. Veal Milanese
Milan is the city of origin for one of the most well-known Italian meals, the Milanese preparation of veal. This classic recipe calls for a thick cut of bone-in veal, while more recent interpretations utilize a boneless, thin cut of veal instead. An unmistakable flavor is imparted to the veal Milanese by a topping crafted from breadcrumbs, spices, and herbs before being fried in butter.
3. Gnocchi Sorrento
Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina is a fantastic comfort meal made with soft potato gnocchi, cooked in a creamy tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. The baked gnocchi is tender and pillowy, and the bubbling cheese sauce topped with mozzarella and creamy cheese is hard to beat.
4. Spaghetti Carbonara
Another traditional Italian pasta dish, carbonara, is constructed with few components but packs a flavorful punch thanks to its preparation. Egg, cured pork, aged cheese, and black pepper are the ingredients that go into its preparation. The cheese is usually Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano.
5. Antipasto Italiano
Antipasto is a collection of little bits of flavorful food typically accompanied by wine or beer to increase your hunger before the dinner’s main course. The word “antipasto” means “before the meal.” Ingredients such as artichoke hearts, cured meats, olives, mushrooms, pepperoncini, anchovies, and pepperoncini, as well as a variety of cheeses, are typical.
Cavatelli is a type of small shell pasta made from eggless semolina dough, and they are traditionally prepared by cooking with garlic and broccoli. Cheese is incorporated into the dough mix in some of the variants. It is straightforward, but when executed correctly, it packs a punch of flavor.
7. Fettuccini Alfredo
The classic Italian meal, fettuccine Alfredo, is prepared with fresh fettuccine, butter, and grated Parmesan cheese. When the cheese melts, it turns into a sauce that is silky smooth, and creamy, and it coats the pasta. You can top broccoli with Alfredo and serve it with fried chicken. This combination is delicious.
8. Pork Braciola
Braciola is a meat chop or cutlet rolled or wrapped around a stuffing and given the name “Involtini” in Italy. You can put whatever you choose inside them before they are browned, roasted, or braised in wine or stock. After that, it is finished in a tomato sauce while blended with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
9. Pizza Margherita
It is impossible to experience authentic Italian culture without ordering a Margherita pizza. The primary ingredients of Pizza Margherita are tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil, which are then cooked at high temperatures to achieve a crisp surface crust. This dish is known for being simple yet flavorful.
Ravioli are stuffed pasta often served either in a broth or with a sauce.