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Old 05-18-2008, 09:56 AM   #1
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Dinner with guests

Need help for tomorrow's dinner... 3 guests and Mike and myself. The main dish is lasagna...made with tomato meat sauce and ricotta/spinach and mozzerella cheese.
What would you serve for starters, sides, and the rest of the menu?....when it's just us, I make a salad and then serve the lasagna....but, I want to do it up company style.
Thanks in advance for all your help... :-)

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Old 05-18-2008, 10:07 AM   #2
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I would do a fish course, like a marinara clams, mussels and shrimp. Then, instead of a salad, serve it as an antipasto, with chrispy italian bread.
For dessert, instead of fancy, I'd serve melon.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:17 AM   #3
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Garlic bread for sure.
Jkath has a wonderful spinach salad on here. You could serve it in cheese bowls so it looks really fancy ( that's what I do).

How about some green beans sauted with garlic, onions and mushrooms.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:22 AM   #4
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We have friends that lived in Italy for 7 years and we love going over there because they do dinners in the traditional Italian style. They will serve the main (lasagne, risotto, etc.) first, then a salad (not usually Caesar, but with varied greens, bell peppers, onions, etc. and a vineagrete) and then a cheese and bread course. It is really great! Just a thought.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:37 AM   #5
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As filling as lasagna is, I think a salad and garlic bread is all you need.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:49 AM   #6
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I think a salad is the thing for the primo. If you want to do "fish," shrimp, either grilled or sauteed in garlic and olive oil, is a great topper for a salad of almost any type. I like it with a tarragon Dijon vinaigrette. But it works great with Caesar too.

Certainly crispy bread is go together. I like to rub raw garlic on the hot crust before slicing, and I have some garlic infused oil and balsamic on the table. (I've gotten away from doing garlic butter, but if that's what you like, do it. Add a shake of oregano in too!)

Serve a traditional antipasti tray before with veg,(olives, peppers, mushrooms) salumis, and cheeses. Finish with fresh fruit and sorbet for desert.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:59 AM   #7
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If you are trying to emulate italian, you'd be serving in courses, taking your time and celebrating the day, the company, life. It is not just sitting down to eat, then bang it's over. Meals are served as: meat/fish course, salad course, pasta course, etc. It takes time....and love. Live to eat, not the reverse.
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Old 05-18-2008, 12:41 PM   #8
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I would serve haricot verts tossed with lemon juice, parsley, lemon zest, s&p as a side for the lasagna. (Would have said spinach, but it's already incorporated in your main dish.)

You don't have to prepare all of these dishes, but just some ideas to mix and match.

Definitely an antipasti platter!!!

(fried) calamari
clams casino
Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto
Melon wrapped in prosciutto

Fried Calamari Salad

Italian breadsticks


Assorted fresh fruit

Mini chocolate cannolis, tiramisu, tartufo, spumoni, tortoni

ETA - as a side for the lasagna you could do zukes, roasted baby artichokes or roasted eggplant.
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Old 05-18-2008, 01:52 PM   #9
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i agree . about all u need is salad and garlic bread. make a great salad with lots of fixings. ie baby corn, aspragus, olives, etc.

dessert should be something light and refreshing. this could be sherbet or spumonie ?sp ice cream

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Old 05-18-2008, 02:26 PM   #10
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Lasagna is such hearty dish I'd go with a soup and an antipasto, amy's suggestions are spot-on!
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:27 PM   #11
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keep it light. chocolates & a dry red would suffice after dinner.
a light spinach salad before, maybe.
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Old 05-18-2008, 06:47 PM   #12
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What about a panzanella salad? It's one of my favorites.

You can have everything ready to go but you don't want to dress it earlier than about 30 minutes before - but definitely dress before to soften the bread. This recipe serves about 4 to 6 I think.

3/4 pound day-old crusty peasant-style whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound), trimmed and each cut into 8 wedges
3/4 cup sliced unwaxed cucumber
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar (not balsamic)
s & p to taste
10 fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade

Make dressing and about 30 minutes before serving toss everything in a bowl and mix well, tossing a few times before serving.

I have added roasted red peppers and loved them as well as kalamata olives one time.

You could also serve a big bowl of mussels. Heat some white wine and lots of shallots along with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary. Once heated and the shallots have softened add your cleaned mussels, toss and cover for about 10 minutes. Just put in a huge bowl (can garnish with tomato concasse) and serve with some crusty bread for dipping in the juices.

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