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An Alfresco Dinner, Italian-Style

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The bold, vibrant flavors of regional Italian cooking shine in a menu that celebrates the season.

I am a native Italian, and nothing makes me happier than cooking Italian food for family and friends. While I love experimenting and enjoying cuisines from all over the world, preparing Italian food makes me feel at home. When hosting guests in the summer months, I also embrace the Italian tradition of eating alfresco. For this menu, I encourage you to spruce up an exterior dining area, fire up the grill, and take your party outside.

Because Italy is a country defined by a broad diversity of landscapes and climates, each microregion specializes in and honors a unique cuisine that has evolved over the centuries and is based on the availability of local ingredients and livestock (or seafood). Eating farm (or boat) to table has been and continues to be the Italian way of life.

For this menu, I celebrate the country I love by showcasing the dishes I’ve enjoyed during my annual trips there. To streamline the prep and cooking and allow you to spend maximum time with your guests, I have also signaled the components that can be made ahead. Some can be made the day before, some just before company arrives, and others added to the grill as guests are walking in the door.

I’m looking forward to my next trip to my beloved homeland, but for now, I will open up a good Montepulciano (a delicious Tuscan wine and my favorite pairing with filet mignon), enjoy the summer breeze, and celebrate the dishes of la cucina Italiana.

Menu Timeline

Up to 1 week ahead

  • Make the pesto

In the morning

  • Make the bocconotti.

1 hour ahead

  • Marinate the seafood.

As guests arrive

  • Season the steaks.
  • Fry the seafood.

At dinner time

  • Cook the pasta.
  • Make the steaks.

The Menu

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