A Traditional Italian Dinner

A Traditional Italian Dinner

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Here’s a Traditional Italian Dinner I served to our family with six courses that lasted over 2 hours. This type of meal is more like an event–perhaps on a Sunday afternoon with family and friends and plan for plenty of visiting in-between courses. Because there are so many courses, the portions are smaller than what we might see in the U.S.

Buon Appetito - A Traditional Italian Dinner

It was such fun learning about the steps of a Traditional Italian Dinner and the wines to serve with each dish. Here’s to Italian Food! Buon Appetito!

 

A Traditional Italian Meal begins with Antipasto

First Course – Antipasto – “Before the Meal” similar to appetizers in America. I love to serve Antipasto Trays when we have a gathering of family and friends. Antipasto is commonly known as the first course of a traditional Italian meal. Here in America, it might also be called a cheese and cracker tray, a charcuterie board, or simply appetizers. For this course, I served a simple tray with cheese, pistachios, salami, and olives with Sauvignon Blanc.

Antipasto Trays
I love to serve Antipasto Trays when we have a gathering of family and friends. Antipasto is commonly known as the first course of a traditional Italian meal. Here in America, they might also be called a cheese and cracker tray, a charcuterie board, or simply appetizers.
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Antipasto Trays

 

Second Course – Primo

Primo is a pasta dish, risotto, gnocchi, or soup served with a hard bread. For a lighter meal (or one with fewer courses, you might serve this as your main dish and exclude the Secondo.) For this course, I served Fettuccine with Truffle Sauce and Asparagus.

Other Primo options might be Ragu Bolognese, Tagliolini with Vegetables, Spaghetti and Meatballs, or Lasagna. A nice Chardonnay would be good with this course. If serving a red sauce you might go with a favorite Chianti or Sangiovese.

Fettuccine with Truffle Sauce and Asparagus
This Fettuccine with Truffle Sauce and Asparagus is a perfect second course (Primi) for a traditional Italian meal. Or served as a side dish with boiled shrimp or steak. So yummy! 
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Serving Fettuccine with Truffle Sauce and Asparagus

 

You’ll want to continue serving bread through the 2nd-4th courses. Rustic Sourdough Baguettes are so delicious and perfect for breaking bread with your family during the meal. Our family loves when I make them. Hard and crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and just the right taste of tangy sourness. Have everyone break apart small sections throughout the meal. This recipe will make 4 small loaves. 

Rustic Sourdough Baguettes
Oh my goodness! This is the best recipe for Sourdough Baguettes--hard and crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and just the right taste of tangy sourness.
Check out this recipe
Recipe for Rustic Sourdough Baguettes

 

Third Course – Secondo with Contorni

The Secondo course is a meat and/or fish dish often served with Contorni, ie vegetables. I made this Stuffed Pork Tenderloin based on an Italian “Rosa di Parma”–which is so wonderfully tender and delicious you have to try it! Serve with a nice Pinot Noir.

I’ve recently become a fan of homemade gnocchi and this Skillet Gnocchi and Brussels Sprouts is so easy and delicious to make, you’ll be coming up with all kinds of meals to serve it with. Another vegetable that is good with pork tenderloin is Baked Italian Zucchini Boats.  

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Here's a recipe I made based on an Italian "Rosa di Parma"--which is so wonderfully tender and delicious you have to try it! Treat yourself to an Italian dinner and serve this as a Secondi or meat course.
Check out this recipe
Recipe for Stuffed Pork Tenderloin - Easter Dinner Menu Ideas - Traditional Italian Dinner

 

 

Fourth Course – Insalata

Insalata is a salad, served after the main dish to cleanse your palate before dessert. Isn’t that interesting? We Americans have it all backward. We eat salad to fill our bellies before our main dish so that we don’t overeat. Who would have guessed?

Spinach Salad with Fig Dressing is a wonderful addition to your next Italian dinner. Spinach Beet Salad or Spinach Salad with Vinegar Dressing would also be good choices for this fourth course. Serve a salad with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chardonnay.

Spinach Salad with Fig Dressing
Here's a delicious salad I make when I want to serve a special Italian dinner.
Check out this recipe
Recipe for Spinach Salad with Fig Dressing

 

Fifth Course – Formaggio e Frutta

Formaggio e Frutta is simply Cheese and Fruit. Sometimes this course is omitted or could even be combined with the final course of dessert. This Crescent Lined Baked Brie with Apricots is perfect when you want to serve guests a little something special. I love how the cheese oozes once you slice into this yummy goodness. Baked Brie is delicious with a sweet Riesling or a zesty Pinot Grigio.

Crescent Lined Baked Brie
Here's a delicious recipe to serve guests when you want a little something special. We love how the cheese oozes once you slice into this yummy goodness.
Check out this recipe
Recipe for Crescent Lined Baked Brie

 

Sixth Course – Dolce

Dolce is a final sweet or dessert, often served with Prosecco followed by a cup of coffee. This Elderberry Wine-Poached Pear Crostata is a fabulous recipe I tried last summer that we really loved. Honestly, I thought it was amazing. Decadent enough to include as the finale for the finest Italian meal. This would be a perfect example of combining the 5 and 6th courses.

Other options for Dolce would be a simple plate of Biscotti or even Homemade Cannoli. 

Elderberry Wine-Poached Pear Crostata
This rustic dessert will make your guests give a sigh of content. It's that good.
Check out this recipe
Recipe for Elderberry Wine-Poached Pear Crostata

 

See more Italian Menu Ideas HERE. Browse more Entertaining Ideas Here. 

 

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2 thoughts on “A Traditional Italian Dinner”

  • I so enjoyed your comments about each course and suggestions for what to serve. I only wish I could sit at your table!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Beth. I’d love to have you over for an Italian dinner. If you’re ever passing through Kansas, let me know!

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