Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu: Italian Dinner

This past weekend, we had our lovely and talented neighbors and friends, Heather, David, Edward and David over for dinner. In thinking through the menu, I threw out the idea of gnocchi on Facebook and they bit.

I made a tradition Italian dinner course progression. The menu was:

L'antipasto (hot and cold appetizers)
Bruschetta al Maccit (Bread with Fava Bean Puree) and Zucchine Sfrante (Zucchini Puree and Sun-Dried Tomatoes), Pizza Bianca
Il primo ("First Course" - hot dish like pasta, risotto, gnocchi, polenta or soup)
Gorgonzola Stuffed Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
Il secondo ("Second Course" - the main dish, usually fish or meat)
Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Breast with Rosemary
Il contorno ("Side Dish" - salad or vegetables)
Il dolce ("Dessert")
Duo of Lemon Panacotta and Tiramisu with Raspberries and Hazelnuts, served with a Raspberry Coulis
Il caffè ("Coffee")

We had a great, great evening. The conversation was stimulating, everyone was engaged and people seemed suitably impressed with the food. On that level, I would give the evening an A.

The only thing that I needed to push it into the A+ level was to remember one thing: Portions. When you have five course to work through, if you're going to make it to the big finish, you have GOT to pace yourself on the first few acts. If the diners are too full for dessert at the end, it doesn't matter how damned good it is.

Now, when I broke down the actual dishes, it didn't measure up quite so well. My measure is, "If you were served this meal at a restaurant, would you have been happy with it? By that measure, I'd honestly have to give myself a B-. Just about every dish had at least one significant flaw to be corrected. On the upside, those errors are very identifiable and easy to fix. So, it was an excellent, actionable learning experience.

Write-ups of the individual dishes and recipes to follow as updates to this post and individual dish entries.

1 comment:

HeathR said...

not only was it A+, but I didn't have to eat again for 24 hours.