A 3 Course Meal That Will Impress Your Guests: AN ITALIAN EXPERIENCE

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3 course italian meal

An Italian Experience

A traditional Italian meal is as much about the people as it is the food. An evening spent with good friends and/or family, is a celebration to be enjoyed over a period of many hours. That kind of dinner party can be great fun. It requires a bit more effort on your part but it’s well worth it. There’s only one rule. Invite people that you actually like. Be sure to find some music that you enjoy. You may find that people start to dance.

Welcome your guests with an Aperitivo.

Have a dish of olives or nuts available in the gathering area and offer your guests a glass of prosecco or champagne.

Before you’re ready to serve the meal, present your guests with the antipasti.

The easiest way to go is a plate of sliced meats and cheeses with a rustic bread. If you feel adventurous, you can serve Frito Misto.

Frito Misto is simply– mixed fry. You can use either all vegetables or you can use calamari or shrimp. We love a seafood mix. When you serve the antipasti, you may want to serve either red or white wine. Generally, seafood is accompanied by white.

Frito Misto

Serve with wedges of lemon and tartar sauce (recipe below)

Fritto Misto
Fritto Misto


  • 2 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 lb sea scallops
  • 1 lb shrimp, cleaned and butterflied
  • 1 lb small fresh squid, sliced into thin rings and 2 inch tentacle pieces
  • 3 lemons, sliced into wedges for serving

Tartar Sauce

  • 3/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped capers
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped cornichons
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and chill Serve with seafood


  1. Heat oil to 350 degrees
  2. Dredge seafood in flour
  3. Fry for about 20 seconds per side
  4. You’ll have to work in batches, so place the cooked pieces on paper towels to drain.


The first course. The first course is served at the table. It’s either a starch or a soup. Pasta, risotto and heavy soups are all good choices. When our friend made these gnocchi last week, we decided that they were the only way to go. At this point you may want to offer a red wine as well.

Tricia's Gnocchi with Scamper Sauce

Team work pays off

Tricia's Gnocchi with Scamper Sauce
Tricia’s Gnocchi with Scamper Sauce


The Gnocchi

  • 5 lg Idaho potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 c flour
  • Kosher salt


  • 3 c fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 c ripe plum tomatoes, peeled. To peel them, cut an X into the bottom. Boil for 20 seconds. Place them immediately in an ice bath and the skin should peel off easily
  • 5 cloves of garlic, quartered
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c ricotta


The Gnocchi

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Bake the potatoes for 45-60 min. Check them. They should be fork tender
  3. When they are done, peel them and run them through a food mill onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Don’t let them clump up. They need to be as light and fluffy as possible
  4. Chill for 2 hrs or until they are cold
  5. Place them onto a clean surface
  6. Beat the eggs and cheese Pour on top of the potatoes
  7. Season with salt
  8. Cover generously with flour so that it looks like snow on mountains
  9. Use your fingers to mix and knead it into dough. If it feels sticky, add flour and mix it again. It should feel like a slightly moist dough Form a log with the dough
  10. Cut slices and roll each slice into a long rope about 1 inch thick
  11. Cut each rope into 1/2 inch pieces and lay them on a baking sheet dusted with flour in one layer
  12. You can freeze them or use them right away
  13. To cook them, place gnocchi in boiling salted water
  14. When they float, give them an extra 2 min. to fluff up Drain and toss with sauce

The Sauce

  1. Purée the basil in a food processor
  2. Add 1/2 tsp salt
  3. Slowly pour in olive oil
  4. Pulse until it’s emulsified into a moist paste Heat 2-3 Tbsp of the extra olive oil and sauté the tomatoes and garlic on low heat until the garlic is soft and the tomatoes break down. 20 – 30 min Add about 3 heaping Tbsp of the basil paste Stir to incorporate Heat for 5-10 more min Add ricotta and stir until combined Serve over warm gnocchi


The meat or fish dish with a vegetable. The choices are endless. A simple fish sautéed with lemon and butter would be delicious. As would, sautéed chicken in a mushroom Marsala sauce. This time we thought we’d go with a classic, Osso buco with steamed spinach.

Osso Buco

Osso Buco
Osso Buco


  • 6 1 1/2 inch veal shanks
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 3/4 c white wine
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz can of Italian plumb tomatoes, chopped and saved with juice
  • 1 c unsalted beef stock
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot mixed with 2 tsp beef broth
  • 6 c baby spinach


  1. Pre heat oven to 350
  2. Tie each shank around the circumference ( you can ask the butcher to do it)
  3. Dredge each shank in flour
  4. Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil and brown each shank for 2-3 min on each side
  5. Remove the shanks and set them in a baking pan with high edges
  6. In the same original pan, sauté the vegetables until soft, about 20 min
  7. Add wine and heat for 3 min
  8. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf and beef broth
  9. Bring to a boil
  10. Pour over shanks
  11. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2-2 hrs
  12. Check and make sure they don’t over cook
  13. Remove from oven and carefully remove the shanks
  14. Place them on a serving plate
  15. Steam the spinach until soft
  16. Strain the left over juices from the pan and squish the vegetables to get all of the liquid
  17. Simmer the liquid and whisk in the arrowroot
  18. Stir and heat until slightly thickened
  19. Pour over meat and serve
  20. You can either serve the meat and spinach separately or serve each shank on a bed of steamed spinach


After the meat dish, a simple salad of mixed greens is usually served with a vinaigrette.

Formaggi E Frutta

Before the dessert arrives, many Italian meals will include a cheese plate with fresh fruits. Grapes are perfect.


The sweets. Now for dessert. Sorbet or ice cream would be wonderful but many people enjoy a lovely tiramisu





  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lb mascarpone
  • 1/4 c strong coffee at room temp
  • 2 Tbsp rum
  • 2 3 oz pkg lady fingers
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a medium sauce pan
  2. Whisk in milk and cook over med heat, stirring constantly
  3. Bring to a gentle boil for 1 min
  4. Remove from heat and allow it to cool
  5. Cover tightly and chill 1 hr
  6. Beat cream and vanilla in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form
  7. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth
  8. Split lady fingers in half
  9. Combine coffee and rum and drizzle over lady fingers
  10. Place half of the soaked lady fingers in a 7×11 Pyrex dish
  11. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the lady fingers then half of the whipped cream on top
  12. Repeat the layers
  13. Sprinkle with cocoa Cover and refrigerate for about 6 hrs
  14. Serve chilled.

After the dessert, coffee and digestivos are served. Digestivos are after dinner liqueurs like limoncello or grappa. By then there’s sure to be some dancing.

Enjoy your Italian evening

Next time

A Caribbean Meal

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