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Old 01-07-2009, 09:40 PM   #1
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Need opinions on Italian menu plan for birthday

I need some advise/input on the following. I'm thinking of making an italian meal for my moms birthday. It will be my mom, stepdad, myself and my husband. oh and maybe my brother and his 8 year old daugter. Not sure about them yet.

A few questions I have right now are.

1. Does this sound like too many things?

2. Does it look like I can make any of this ahead so I have minimum work the day I'm serving the dinner? With of course it still being very good.

3. Does the order seem good? What is a fair quantity for each person for the appetizer?

4. Any ideas on a desert that I can make in my new spring form pan?

MEAL PLAN
1. APPETIZER

risotto balls after making this:
risotto with tomato sauce

2. MAIN MEAL

Rigatoni Campagnolo. You can see example here: Not sure if I'm using that exact recipe. Robbie's Recipe Collection: Rigatoni Campagnolo like Carrabba's

3. SIDE?
eggplant rolls
eggplant rolls - involtini di melanzane

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Old 01-07-2009, 09:54 PM   #2
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I dont think its too many things... but I think the involtini in a tomato sauce is redundant to the pasta that already has a tomato sauce. You can make the involtini and skip the sauce, it will be fine without it. You could use some ricotta inside the involtini which is also traditional in Italy. I am assuming you dont want to serve a small salad to start.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:03 PM   #3
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It all looks tasty so I am sure there wont be complaints. I would be happy to sit down to that meal so take comments accordingly

Serving pasta and risotto is a lot of starch. Serving risotto and pasta together is uncommon.

I had made Arancini for dinner last night... I ate about 4 fairly small ones (and I did not fill with additional cheese which was a mistake for for binding purposes). I used about one large seving spoon to form each ball. I had this with just a salad and it was a heavy dinner. Those little balls of risotto are dense.

a traditional meal could include a first course starch (risotto or pasta) and a second course of protein (meat)... this is where I would serve the vegetable.

The pasta w/sausage is a one course meal but the heavy appetizer and the cheese filled vegetable site may be a bit heavy.

To stick with the menu I would serve only one or two Arancini per person along with salad greens to lighten it up. I usually serve Arancini with salad and a sweet tangy vinigarette but I have never done this with a red risotto .
you may also consider serving a lighter eggplant dish with the pasta.

As far as ahead of time... the actual risotto can be made ahead of time but fry the arancini shortly before serving (keep warm in oven if necessary but not for long)

The pasta sauce can be made ahead as well this keeps well and even improves sitting in the fridge (sunday sauce was always better as seconds on Wed) just make the pasta fresh.

The eggplant I would not make too far before serving.

Because this is a pretty heavy meal I would go light with desert. maybe an angel hair cake with some fruit and fresh cream

good luck I am sure it will be delicious
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:08 PM   #4
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The The Italian way, Primo Piatti or first course is usually a starch such as risotto, pasta or ravioli. The Seconda Piatti, second course is never another starch. I would eliminate one or the other. The meal is heavy and you have two tomato sauce items. You could use the Eggplant Involtini for the main course and keep the risotto for the first course. Add a nice antipasto or salad at the beginning of the meal and you've got a winner.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:21 PM   #5
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upon further review, i agree with the other posters in that risotto AND pasta both will make this a heavy meal. If you want to still serve both, you can make the Arancini (risotto balls) really small... like mini-croquettes, kinda like one bite "poppers".
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:19 PM   #6
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change in menu

ok gave my mom a few choices and she chose 29-pork roast with herbs
which is braised pork roast with herbs.

I'm thinking now a salad to go with it and ?
I really wanted to serve the risotto balls that I spoke of earlier. but people usually like to serve gravy with pork and mashed potatoes : (
I did want some kind of italian theme if I could.
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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You can still do an Italian theme...

The Arancini would make a delicious first course, then your pork with a vegetable contorno -- maybe spinach sauteed with garlic and pine nuts?

Italians would serve the salad after the main course...

and since it's a birthday, I'm sure you want a cake? I would be happy to post my Chocolate-Hazelnut (Gianduja) Mousse Cake for you if you'd like.
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune View Post
You can still do an Italian theme...

The Arancini would make a delicious first course, then your pork with a vegetable contorno -- maybe spinach sauteed with garlic and pine nuts?

Italians would serve the salad after the main course...

and since it's a birthday, I'm sure you want a cake? I would be happy to post my Chocolate-Hazelnut (Gianduja) Mousse Cake for you if you'd like.
Hmm that's an idea. I was also thinking of serving roman style egg drop soup with the arancini (?). The spinache idea is GREAT. Was also thinking of a baby carrot recipe.

Yes, I'd love to check out what the recipe is all about. Can it be made ahead? I'm guessing it can as most deserts can.
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:49 PM   #9
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may I suggest rapini instead of spinach?.....mmmm mmmmm good!
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune View Post
You can still do an Italian theme...

The Arancini would make a delicious first course, then your pork with a vegetable contorno -- maybe spinach sauteed with garlic and pine nuts?

Italians would serve the salad after the main course...

and since it's a birthday, I'm sure you want a cake? I would be happy to post my Chocolate-Hazelnut (Gianduja) Mousse Cake for you if you'd like.
Legend, as an Italian I think your Italian themed dinner was great with the exception of the two starches. Bear in mind that arnancini are best made with leftover rice that has been refrigerated. They are also very heavy since they're stuffed with cheese, and might be too much of a start for your other menu items. If they fill up on arnacini they won't be able to enjoy the rest of that wonderful menu. Think good store-bought cannoli for dessert.
I like the idea of a nice salad or the Roman egg soup as a starter then do the rigatoni as a the main dish. You can make the rigatoni sauce and the soup broth a day ahead and leave very little work for yourself on the night of the dinner.
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