A Savvy Week: Italian Dinner Party

Your Time, Your Money, Your Meals. Cook It Forward.

Start cooking ahead of time in order to minimize your time in the kitchen and maximize your time with your guests on the day of your dinner party.

Italian Dinner Party

The Menu:

Three kinds of crostini
Tomato and parsley pasta
Red wine steak
Roasted carrots
Spinach prosciutto salad
Neopolitan ice cream cake



For a Friday evening party

Monday:  Cook prosciutto.  Caramelize onions and peppers for crostini.
Tuesday: Bake cake.
Wednesday: Toast breadcrumbs and prepare garlic oil for pasta.  Peel carrots.  Make vanilla ice cream layer for cake.
Thursday:  Drain tomatoes, shred mozzarella and chop parsley for pasta. Marinate steak.  Start roasting carrots. Make strawberry sorbet layer of cake.  Prepare bruschetta topping.
Friday:  Toast bread for crostini.  Cook pasta.   Wilt spinach.  Finish off carrots. Cook steak.


On Monday:

Dice the prosciutto for the steak and the spinach, but don’t cook it yet.  Refrigerate in a sealed container.

Caramelize the onions and peppers for the crostini.  Refrigerate.

On Tuesday:

Bake chocolate cake layer for the ice cream cake. When the cake has cooled completely, slice horizontally into an even 1/2″ thick layer.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap.

On Wednesday:

Toast the breadcrumbs and prepare the garlic-infused oil for the tomato and parsley pasta.   Pour each into their own containers and cover loosely.

Peel 2 pounds of carrots.  If they are more than 3/4″ thick, slice in half vertically.  Cover with a damp paper towel, then plastic wrap.

Make the vanilla ice cream and add it to the cake.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze.

On Thursday:

Drain the tomatoes for the pasta.  Chop the parsley.  Using two forks, shred the fresh mozzarella for the pasta.  Refrigerate each of these components (tomatoes, parsley and cheese) in their own air-tight containers.

Marinate the steak.

Toss the carrots with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and whatever fresh herbs you’d like.  Roast at 400F for 25 minutes.  Once cooled, cover and store at room temperature.

Make the strawberry sorbet and add it to the cake.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze.

Prepare the bruschetta topping and refrigerate.

On Friday:

Cook the prosciutto and wilt the spinach. 

Twenty minutes before your guests begin arriving, slice and toast the bread for the crostini.  Top 1/3 of the toasted bread with bruschetta topping, 1/3 with goat cheese and caramelized onions and peppers, and the rest with goat cheese, pear slices and balsamic vinegar.

Just before dinner, cook the pasta.  Toss with garlic oil, breadcrumbs, parsley, tomatoes and mozzarella as instructed in the recipe.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

As the pasta course is wrapping up, separate the prosciutto and fat.  Cook the steak.

While the steak cooks, finish roasting the carrots at 400F for 5-10 minutes.  Warm the wilted spinach and toss with the prosciutto.

Serve the steak, carrots and spinach salad.

Finish the night with Neopolitan ice cream cake.

Happy Savvy Eating!

Reading List


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Photo: Oregano and rosemary in the Savvy Garden!

There have been some great posts catching my eye in the blogosphere as of late. Time to share the link love!

1.  Six ways to give your food a flavor-boost.

2.  This is a cute little cocktail “swatch book.”

3.  Mmmm, bacon, egg and asparagus personal pizzas.

4.  And asparagus grueyere tarts!  I clearly need asparagus to start showing up at the Farmers’ Market. 

5.  Canning for a New Generation is my favorite canning book, so I’m excited about the next edition: Whole Grains for a New Generation!

6.  Let’s make some DIY garden markers this weekend.

7.  Free Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials.

8.  Wow, this seven-chocolate cake looks wonderful.

9.  Don’t we all have that critical “Bigfoot” in our heads?  If only they were all as humorous as Katie’s.

What’s on your reading list this week?