Flavorful, aromatic, healthy and satisfying is how I would characterize rustic Italian cuisine. Add to that warm, inviting and casual, and you have the ingredients for a nearly perfect dinner party to share with your friends.
Setting the StageIt will be easy to find the items you need to create the mood for this dinner party. Pick any or all of these ideas to bring the sunny spirit of the Italian countryside into your home.
- Seat your guests at natural wooden tables, with a simple table cloth.
- Hang bunches of dried herbs over your table for a savory, aromatic touch to the meal.
- Set a row of fresh, potted herbs or wildflowers down the center of your table for a natural centerpiece.
- Bunches of sunflowers would make a dramatic alternative floral arrangement.
- Place bowls of olives around the table as both an additional decoration and a tasty nibble.
- There's no need to pull out the fancy wine glasses. Use short juice tumblers to serve wine the rustic Italian way.
- Play classic Italian songs in the background.
- Present your guests with small bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a party favor.
Serve Grappa or a Cynar cocktail as an apertif.
Grilled Antipasto with Mezzo Soprano - This is an appetizing grilled vegetable antipasto that is topped with a garlicky anchovy sauce.
Chicken or Veal Saltimbocca - The meats are interchangeable, just make sure the cutlets are pounded to a consistent thickness.
Cheesy Baked Polenta - A satisfying side dish in the Italian style.
Tuscan Orange and Fennel Salad - Here is an unusual, refreshing salad to accompany your dinner.
Tiramisu - You can't go wrong with this ever popular dessert.
After dinner serve Fernet Branca as the traditional Italian digestive drink.