The first rule of having a dinner party is to invite guests. Simple as that seems it sometimes gets lost in translation or social media. Last Friday night I was hosting dinner for (what I thought) 6-8 people. In the end we only had five guests -one flaked -which was o.k. because he was invited one hour before we started cooking and the other two I forgot to invite (details, details, etc.).
Besides the missing guests we ended up having a great time. After coming back from Italy I was inspired to cook for friends but I didn't want to slave over the kitchen. Below is what I served. The entire dinner was inexpensive, relatively healthy, and most of all delicious. Total cooking time is under 2 hours (including prep). I also served a green salad (with grilled zucchini and red pepper) and of course gelato for dessert.
Course 1: Pesto & Tomato Bruschetta
-Slice a baguette, brush olive oil on both sides.
-Bake in the oven for 350 degrees for 5 minutes
-Take out and then spread pesto (we bought a wonderful jar in Cinque Terre) or a fresh
-Put back in the oven and bake for additional 5 minutes
Course 2: Green Salad
Course 3: Low fat Spinach Lasagna (made with cottage cheese instead of ricotta)
Vegetable Side: Green Beans wrapped in Prosciutto
-Blanche green beans in the water for 1-2 minutes
-Drain green beans
-Heat oven to 350 degrees
-Bundle green then wrap a slice of prosciutto around the bundle
-Bake on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes until prosciutto is crisp
Course 4: Blood orange salad
-Peel 4-5 blood oranges
-Brush olive oil on the oranges
-Cut some slices of red onion
-Add a few slices of olives or capers
-Add a touch of rock salt and pepper
Course 5: Gelato (purchased at Whole Foods)