A culinary jaunt to bell’Italia

Last night, the Sumptuous Suppers Club met once again.  This time we travelled to Italy for our culinary inspiration, totally different than last month’s Indian feast, though just as delicious!  According to our own club guidelines, hosting was rotated to a new location, and the host/hostess planned the menu.  Various dishes were then assigned to guests.  This time, the guests each brought a different kind of pasta – either red, white, or green, in honour of the Italian flag!  (Cute idea, eh?!)  The hostess was then in charge of the rest.

Dinner began with antipasti in the living room – prosciutto, roasted red peppers, bread with oil-balsamic dip, and olives.  There was also an artisan pizza made by one of the guests, who ran a wood-fired pizza company last summer.  (See her promotional video right here!)  Her creation was the “Firetower,” with spicy salami, banana pepper rings, pineapple, and fresh herbs.

We started with a salad course.  Though slightly out of keeping with traditional Italian dinner parties that save salad till after the pasta and meat courses, it seemed more in keeping with our Canadian taste – wanting something fresh before the heavy pasta arrived!  This was a caprese salad with tomato, bocconcini, and basil.

Caprese Salad

Then came the tri-coloured pastas, created by guests.  Red was my responsibility.  I made pasta puttanesca, literally translated as “pasta of the prostitutes!”  Because it’s so quick to whip up, this recipe was presumably created by ladies of the night who needed dinner on the table fast, after a long night of work!  It has a base of tomato sauce with anchovies, olives, and capers.  Next was the creamy white pasta with mushrooms and chicken.  The green pasta had a pesto base, with roasted zucchini and peppers stirred in.  A crisp Caesar salad finished off the plate.

Red-white-green pasta spread

For dessert, we had a delicious sweet pizza.  The homemade crust was spread with a layer of thinly sliced apples, sprinkled with chopped walnuts, and drizzled in caramel sauce.  A bit of blue cheese was crumbled over top to cut the sweetness.  Slices were then served warm with vanilla ice cream.  Sorry – no picture available.  It got inhaled too quickly!

With a playlist of contemporary Italian music in the background, it was a really great way to spend a Tuesday evening in February, I must say.  Nothing like good food and good friends to make an evening race by.  See, there’s no truth in the assumption one has to give up elegant dinner parties with kids running around.  We are living proof that it’s possible!

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