…then there’s a high chance that it’s pesto night at our place. If it’s book club night, Mad Men night, impromptu dinner night, Tuesday night… Pesto is a staple around here. And I could spin you a nice tale about how once a month I make a big batch, and freeze it in ice cube trays for ready portions on the go. But I won’t…because it’s not true. I’ve done it before, sure, but in the end, I find that I don’t get different reactions from people whether I home make pesto, or pick it up at the grocery store (and for 1.99 this Barilla brand miracle can be yours too).
Here’s the thing about entertaining…it takes a bit of practice. When you first start having people over, start simple, and then work your way into more complicated dishes as you become more comfortable with prep and timing. For those in the nascent phases, or for a night where you’re just tight on time, here’s a foolproof menu. Now, I’m not saying that this is a gourmet feat, but it is something that people seem to enjoy, and it doesn’t cause me to have a nervous breakdown, nor a major hole in your bank account.
Sets out three or four small bowls of whatever you have on hand: marcona almonds, nuts, olives, stuffed peppers, sun dried tomatoes, etc. If you’re feeling super fancy, break out a bottle of prosecco.
– Pesto with pasta: Barilla brand pesto will do fine, so will their pasta – for extra oomph, add chopped mozarella after you add the sauce to the hot pan and it will melt into delicious creamy chunks
– Meats platter: we usually have some combintion of prosciutto and salami, doesn’t have to be fancy – this is also great when you have vegetarians in the mix as there’s something for everyone this way without creating two separate meals
– Tomato salad: slide tomatoes or chop cherry tomatoes in half (n.b. cherry tomatoes likely to taste better when it’s not yet tomato season), sprinkle with one chopped shallot, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil
– Green salad (if you need something extra): one bag mixed greens, handful of slivered almonds, and handful of parmesan; add dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and dijon mustard
– Bread from bakery (if you didn’t have time, have italian breadsticks on hand in your pantry and set out in a decorative glass)
Add a nice red wine and dessert from your bakery (or ice cream freezer; or another standby is a big bowl of strawberries and a platter of assorted, broken up chocolate bars) and you can call it a night. Winner every time.
Photography by The New Diplomat’s Wife.