Family Dinner - An Italian Evening

Elora and I are blessed with a fabulously creative group of friends - friends we’ve shared for more years than any of us would like to admit.  Last year we realized that our work, kids, partners and life were distracting us from our loved ones.  In response to missing our pre-thirties impromptu gatherings, Elora instigated Family Dinner - a once-a-month moveable feast.  This month I got to be host, which I absolutely adore!  I decided on an Italian theme which seemed the perfect pairing for dining al fresco in July. 

The Menu:
Casaba melon, Prosciutto di Parma and fresh mint
The Portland Creamery’s mustard chèvre wrapped in white balsamic marinated zucchini and fresh thyme
Bruschetta with assorted toppings: Fresh mission figs and goat cheese, olive tapenade and pepperoncini, sardines, cucumber and ricotta, and cured meats  
Caprese Salad
Fennel, radish, and parsley salad with preserved lemon vinaigrette
Fresh pasta with homemade traditional pesto and fresh Parmesan
Rosemary, garlic and olive oil rubbed grilled pork loin with tonnato sauce
Almond, lemon and ricotta cake with Bing cherry-almond sauce

A large menu indeed, but I didn’t tackle it alone, which is one of the many fun elements of Family Dinner; each guest brings a dish to complement the theme. 

We all look forward to our monthly get-togethers; might we suggest you start your own? We recommend that the host prepare an appetizer, the main protein or entrée, and a dessert.  This plan will set you up for success in the event of last minute mishaps - there is something to nibble on if people are running late, you aren’t left eating rabbit food if someone has to cancel at the last minute and it is always nice to end with a bit of sweet.  Look back here for future Family Dinner menu inspirations.