My wife and I skipped the New Year’s Eve festivities this year and tried something different: a New Year’s Day Italian dinner. This was done in an effort to recreate the holiday dinners I used to enjoy with my extended family when I was growing up. While we couldn’t get my family to Los Angeles we could recreate the food and hopefully the feeling of spending a holiday at my great-grandmother’s house.
We started with the sauce:
Actually, two pots of sauce since we were serving 12 people – or about 1/3 the number my great-grandmother served on a typical holiday.
We then added the meatballs I had made (based on my father’s recipe.) My wife prepared the sausage & peppers and the antipasto salad. We grated cheese, put on the water for pasta, warmed up the roasted garlic bread, poured the wine and prepared to fill the table with food and people.
Here is the table – which is actually two tables placed end to end:
When plated, dinner looked like this:
We were ready to eat, but would our guests like it? Considering the fact that we have zero leftovers, I think everyone enjoyed the meal.
Of course, there was also dessert, consisting of cookies, homemade pizzelles, chocolate macaroons and my wife’s homemade cannoli.
I think that my late great-grandmother, my still living and wonderful grandmother and my occasional blog commenter father would have approved of the meal. As for me, I had a wonderful time cooking and preparing dinner for our friends. Late in the day I was in the kitchen preparing second pot of coffee, listening to the noise from the dining room. It was a loud and happy sound as our guests stirred coffee, poured a bit of Limoncello, and passed desserts while they talked loudly and comfortably, like they were in their own home. It was exactly like I remembered holidays with the family. I think good friends and good food may be the best way I can think to start a new year.
There are more pictures from the day here.
If you’re keeping score at home we consumed the following: Three and a half pounds of meatballs, three pounds of pasta, four pounds of sausage and peppers, an undetermined amount of antipasto salad, nearly all of the sauce, three loaves of bread all but 1 cannoli (which we just ate) and a small mountain of cookies. I think I can safely say that no one went home hungry.
Thanks to everyone who was here with us yesterday. To our guests and to everyone reading this: I hope that the rest of your year is as good as the first day of mine.