Have you watched Luca Guadagnino’s beautiful film Call Me by Your Name and you can’t stop thinking about those endless meals in the garden under the Italian summer sky? Or have you recently been to Italy and you fell in love with those perfectly set tables, the glorious Italian food, and the carefully paired wines? We have the ultimate guide that will help you recreate the atmosphere of an Italian dinner party at your house.
When you decide to throw an Italian dinner party, the first thing you can think of is food. You will probably start your path to the perfect Italian dinner by navigating the internet and leafing through your old cooking books in search of some classic Italian dishes. What we recommend is to not rush in the preparation, but start with a good plan and, first of all, learn the basics. A typical Italian dinner consists of 5 different courses: aperitivo, antipasto, first course, main course, and dessert – and a special extra course that we’ll reveal to you at the end, in case you want to reach a flawless result. The first thing you should do is to understand the difference between the five courses and how to set a perfect table for your Italian dinner. Once the last dessert spoon is placed on the table, it’s time to put a menu together.
Italians do really love starters, and that is a fact proved by the existence of two kinds of starters in an Italian meal, aperitivo e antipasto. While you probably know what aperitivo is – a pre-meal drink accompanied by some nibbles –, you may be stuck on the question ‘what does antipasto mean?’. Coming from the Latin ante-pastus (literally, ‘before the meal’), antipasto is the course that precedes the first course. It generally consists of a small portion of light food, and it’s the first course that you serve at the table, because you generally stand during the aperitivo. While taralli are the perfect aperitivo snack, you might want to think bigger for the antipasto. Cured meat is a very traditional choice that you could decide to arrange on a beautiful and rich platter. If you feel more creative, try to combine some Italian prosciutto with grilled figs and goat cheese, or why not wrap Parma ham around delicious grissini. And you don’t have to come up with a whole different option for your vegetarian guests: you just need to replace prosciutto with some warm bread crostini, and your work with starters will be done!
While we recommend not to skip this step, as starter is an absolute trademark of every authentic Italian dinner party, don’t go too hard as guests might feel too full when they reach the main courses.
Now that your starters are sorted, it’s time to move forward with the rest of your Italian dinner party menu. Pasta should never be missing from your primo piatto – which means first course in Italian –, either in its most common shape or in the form of lasagna. If you have time, the best thing to do is to make fresh pasta from scratch, if you want to really impress your guests. A proper Italian ragu is always the best (and most traditional) sauce to go for, whether you make the pasta yourself or you buy it – in which case, paccheri are perfect, as their very large tubular shape allows them to keep all the sauce inside. Need a vegetarian option? Just make a garden vegetable ragu, and your veggie guests will be over the moon. Once again, the traditional main course consists of meat, but the Italian dinner ideas are countless even for people who don’t eat meat. The parmigiana di melanzane is one of the best Italian classic dishes that will always make both vegetarians and non-vegetarians very happy. In case of veggie guests, just remember to replace parmesan with a parmesan-style cheese, as parmesan is not a vegetarian cheese.
And what about wine? Of course, we offer you a pairing with Italian wines only. You should start your dinner with sparkle and opt for some Prosecco or Franciacorta. A refreshing white should accompany your antipasto, and a Pinot Grigio is ideal for that. Your meat or vegetarian ragu will be best served with a rich, full-bodied red wine such as Barolo or Amarone della Valpolicella, which would be great also with your parmigiana di melanzane.
How could we provide you with some Italian meal ideas without considering the dessert? So, here we are with some great dessert ideas. You can always opt for the most common and absolutely delicious tiramisu – and here we have provided you with the classic Italian tiramisu recipe. However, if after all this cooking (especially if you made pasta from scratch!) you want to go for something easier, we have the perfect gelato desserts for your needs, with creamy layers dominated by a crunchy top. Remeo Gelato Desserts Bundle, a bundle of three different gelato desserts – mascarpone gelato with raspberry sauce and biscuits; salted caramel gelato with caramel sauce and salted peanuts; tiramisu gelato with coffee and cocoa – will not fail its task to impress and satisfy all your guests. Do you think that three different desserts are too much after such a substantial meal? Well, nothing is too much food-wise for the Italians, but you can always opt for a timeless classic, like pistachio ice cream. In that case, Remeo Gelato n.4 pistacchio siciliano is definitely what you want. What you need now is a dessert wine that can be paired with gelato, such as a Moscato rosa, that should be always drunk before eating ice cream. Then, make your guests an espresso and end your classic Italian dinner with some limoncello. If you want your meal to have an unforgettable touch of class, there is only one last thing you should do.
You probably think of sorbet as one of the possible desserts that conclude a traditional Italian dinner, and you’re definitely not wrong. Sorbetto is one of the most common ways to end a meal in Italy. What you probably don’t know is that sorbet is also a way to separate different courses during a meal. Do you want to serve fish as a first course and meat for the main? Squeeze some sorbet in between them and your guests’ palate will be ready to taste them both at their best. If you’re looking for a way to put this golden tip into practice, try our Remeo Sorbetto n.3 limone siciliano, and your freshly cleansed palate will be ready to start with the aperitivo again!