An Italian “Cena”

Fall is coming which means the long days of cooking are here. This weekend, we decided to have an Italian supper at our house. This meant that the meal started at 4pm on Sunday. I made a traditional Tomato Sauce, but instead of serving just that, I used it in the Lasagna I made. Boy, do I remember waking up in my house as a child to the smells of my mom frying garlic and onions in EVOO. She would make a huge pot of sauce in the morning and let it cook on the stove all day. We’d go in the kitchen and dunk huge hunks of bread in there throughout the day and if we were lucky, we could fish out a meatball and have it over bread with sauce for lunch. She would make enough for supper that night but freeze tons of it and call it “liquid gold”.

This past Sunday, we started the meal by serving Fried Artichokes and Caponata:

I took small artichokes and cut off both the top and the bottom. I peeled back as many layers of the chokes as needed until I got to the soft core. Being that they were small artichokes, the inside did not contain the prickly needles. I then quartered the hearts and sauteed them in a little EVOO with salt and a squeeze of lemon.

For the Caponata, I was out of pignolis so I used raw almonds and I omitted the raisins because I didn’t have any. The beauty of Caponata is that you can make it however you like it-some like it sweeter and some like it more sour. Some like raisins and some think they don’t belong. Green olives? Black olives? It’s up to you.

Next, we made Italian Meatloaf Roll. An alternative to this recipe would be to boil a few eggs to a hard boil point, peel them and line them up in the middle and mold the meat around the egg to form a log. Roll or log, either way, this meatloaf is like no other!

No Italian meal is complete without Stuffed Peppers.

This time I made a vegetarian version because we were having the meatloaf and the lasagna with meat sauce. I put the peppers out on the appetizer table but we ate them with the main course as well.

No Italian meal is complete without wine. We had lots of great reds and roses flowing all day long. You can find great wine deals from our friends at My Wines Direct -they have put some exclusive collections together for our website which is molto bene.

We gathered about 10 of our friends together, raised a glass and toasted, “A chi ci vuole bene” which means “to those who love us.”

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