• Lauren Diaz

Italian Dinner Party (Quarantine Edition)

Hello everyone! It's been a while, but as per everyone's request I've decided to create this blog post so you can throw a mini Italian dinner party to change up your routine during quarantine. I will list the decor, ingredients, and recipes below!

Decor/Space:

First things first, where are you going to have this dinner? The important thing is getting out of your normal, after all we've all been inside and eating at the same place over and over again. So if you have a backyard, amazing! Use one of the plastic tables with a tablecloth or take out one of your inside tables if you don't have a foldable one. Point is.. switch up the routine, eat anywhere that is not where you've been eating for the past few weeks. There are a few essential items that you need for an Italian dinner party. If you don't have them, get creative!


  1. Lights - if you have little twinkle lights outside, perfect! If not Christmas lights will do just fine, or even a bunch of candles you can light up.

  2. Music - a little Italian dinner music in the background makes for a change of scenery. Plug in your speaker or just use your phone and use this Spotify playlist.

  3. Wine - you definitely need a bottle of Italian wine so next time you're forced to go get groceries, pick up a bottle!

  4. Food - of course, the main thing here is food. Below I will provide an ingredient list and recipes for each dish that we made (obviously pick and choose what you like!) or if you make anything cool, tag me or send me the recipe and I'll try it and post it here.


Baked Brie:


Ingredients:



Instructions:


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Slice the Brie in half, put honey in between the two slices, and honey on top. Put a twig of thyme. Stick it in the oven for about 30 min. Don't take it out until your are ready to eat, if not it hardens! Serve with crackers or little toasts.



Bruschetta:


Ingredients:


  • 2 big tomatoes

  • 1 ball of mozzarella

  • olive oil

  • balsamic vinegar

  • salt and pepper

  • basil


Instructions:


Dice the two tomatoes and wash them in a colander to get rid of the excess seeds and such. Throw them in a bowl. Dice the ball of mozzarella and add it to the bowl. Chop up basil (as much as you want/like) and add to the bowl. Add in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together softly with a fork. Serve on top of freshly cut bread or little toasts (they sell bruschetta toast in packs at Publix and any supermarket). Decorate with more basil.


Farfalle Alla Vodka


Ingredients:


Pasta:

  • 1 box of your favorite pasta (I used Farfalle (bowtie))


Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter

  • 2 teaspoons of garlic (minced)

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup vodka (I used Tito's)

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup parmesan

  • salt and pepper

  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)


Salmon (optional):

  • cedar plank (we cooked the salmon on the grill on a wooden plank, if you're doing this make sure to soak the plank in water for one hour before you start cooking)

  • salmon filet with skin removed (as much salmon as you want and add ingredients accordingly)

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

  • salt and pepper

  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest

  • 1-1/2 teaspoon of rosemary (chopped)

  • 1-1/2 teaspoon of thyme (chopped)

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • lemon slices


Instructions:

Pasta:


Follow the instructions on the box, you can do it! Pro tip though, salt the water a little bit and put a few drops of olive oil. When its done just let it sit (make sure to turn the heat off) because you will need to mix it with the sauce.


Sauce:


While your pasta is cooking, grab a sauce pan and set it on medium heat with the butter. While the butter melts puree the San Marzano tomatoes in a food processor. Once the butter melts add in your garlic and red pepper flakes. After they look a bit toasty (like 30-60 seconds) add the pureed tomatoes and the vodka. Cook the sauce for 10 min. on low/medium heat. Add the heavy cream and the parmesan and cook for another 10 minutes on the same heat. Add salt and pepper and you're basically all set!


Taste the sauce and you can add more salt, pepper, parmesan, and red pepper flakes depending on the flavor you are trying to achieve. When the sauce looks/tastes ready go ahead and dump it into the pot with your pasta.


Dollop some ricotta on it, more parmesan if you want, more salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if you want, and parsley to make it pretty.


Salmon:


Ok, this part is easier to do if you have more than 1 person at home, so while one person handles the pasta you can handle the salmon but if you're an overachiever then go for it! So you need to take the skin off the salmon, they might sell it like this but we basically just sliced it off before cooking it. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (except the lemon slices). But the salmon in there and let it marinate for a little bit on both sides.


Heat the grill on medium low, put the plank on and sprinkle some olive oil and put the lemon slices. Heat thoroughly (until it looks cooked) and flip it. This whole process should take about 30 min. Once the salmon is done you can slice it and put it on top of each of your pasta dishes and buon appetito!


Cannoli:


Ingredients:


  • 2 cups of whole milk ricotta

  • 1 cup of mascarpone

  • 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • chocolate chips (as much as you want)

  • waffle cones


Instructions:


Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon for about 4 minutes. If the cannoli cream is wet and falls off the spoon easily add more mascarpone and powdered sugar. Put it in the fridge and serve cold on a waffle cone with chocolate chips for garnish.


So there you have it folks! You can now officially throw your own Italian Dinner Party during Quarantine. Hope you all enjoy and tag me in your pictures if you use any of these recipes. I wish everyone a very safe and healthy quarantine, stay home!!



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