Dinner Party Menu: Classic Italian

I love Italian Sunday dinners, the early afternoon tradition of carbo loaded meals, laden with tomato sauce, meatballs, and lots of wine.  My family’s Italian, and my mom always cooked classic Italian American dinners- baked ziti, meatballs, and my personal favorite, Sunday “gravy,” aka tomato sauce filled with braciole, pork, beef, and sausage and piled on top of spaghetti.  The one thing she never made was lasagna, because she thought it was similar to baked ziti, only more annoying. 

So when my parents came for dinner this past Sunday, I knew they’d want a nice Italian dinner, and I decided to make lasagna, since my Sunday gravy and ziti could never compete with my mom’s.  I rounded it out with light appetizers and a salad, and it was a delicious meal and perfect complement to a great day with my family.

Our Menu:
Speck and pistachios
Lasagna Bolognese

Big Italian Salad

Smitten Kitchen Apple Cake

I’ll post the recipes this week, starting with our salad:

Big Italian Salad, adapated from Food & Wine

1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tbsp mayo
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

2 romaine hearts, chopped
1 small head of radicchio, chopped
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
½ small red onion, sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup green olives
¼ cup sliced radishes
8 pepperoncini
Parmesan cheese shavings, for garnish

Rub the inside of a large bowl with garlic clove and discard clove.  Whisk together salt, mayo, vinegar, oregano, oil, and black pepper. Combine remaining ingredients and toss. Serve immediately.

You can prepare this a few hours ahead, just store the salad and dressing separately and toss together just before serving.

This was delicious and very Italian, with its spiky vinegar and oregano flavors. Yum!

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