Flavorful, aromatic, healthy and satisfying is how I would characterize rustic Italian cuisine. It's not always heaps of hearty pasta when it comes to the Mediterranean climates of Italy. Italians understand they need to live, love and laugh, share happy meals with people they love the most. An Italian rustic dinner theme is a recipe for successful entertaining. Add to that warm, inviting and casual, and you have the ingredients for a nearly perfect dinner party to share with your friends.
If Mediterranean Italian cuisine is foreign territory for you we have broken down how to plan a gourmet dinner with a couple of simple steps. These instructions are easy to follow and fool proof for a gathering amongst the best of friends. Guests will leave your meal feeling satisfied, full of warmth from the happy memories they have created on this special night.
Setting the Stage
It will be easy to find the items you need to create the mood for this dinner party. Pick any or all of these ideas to bring the sunny spirit of the Italian countryside into your home. No need to book a ticket to Italy here you can have the comforts of the foreign country in your own space. Here are some specific suggestions to help make things feel like Italy in the summertime.
- Seat your guests at natural wooden tables, with a simple table cloth.
- Hang bunches of dried herbs over your table for a savory, aromatic touch to the meal.
- Set a row of fresh, potted herbs or wildflowers down the center of your table for a natural centerpiece.
- Bunches of sunflowers would make a dramatic alternative floral arrangement.
- Place bowls of olives around the table as both an additional decoration and a tasty nibble.
- There's no need to pull out the fancy wine glasses. Use short juice tumblers to serve wine the rustic Italian way.
- Play classic Italian songs in the background.
- Present your guests with small bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a party favor.
Serve Grappa or a Cynar cocktail as an apertif.
Grilled Antipasto with Mezzo Soprano - This is an appetizing grilled vegetable antipasto that is topped with a garlicky anchovy sauce.
Accompany the antipasto with a cheese board composed of Italian cheeses such as Asiago, Grana Padano, and Rustico with Black Pepper. Serve cheeses with sliced, rustic Italian bread.
Chicken or Veal Saltimbocca - The meats are interchangeable, just make sure the cutlets are pounded to a consistent thickness.
Cheesy Baked Polenta - A satisfying side dish in the Italian style.
Tuscan Orange and Fennel Salad - Here is an unusual, refreshing salad to accompany your dinner.
Tiramisu - You can't go wrong with this ever popular dessert.
After dinner serve Fernet Branca as the traditional Italian digestive drink.