As we’ve gotten older it has gotten harder for my two best friends and I to find the time for all of us to get together. So when it does happen, it is always a very exciting occasion full of laughter, reminiscing, and catching up. This past weekend, I had my two oldest friends over for a tuscan style dinner.
I love Italian food–and I feel it is a style of food made for sharing. I wanted the dinner to feel relaxed and easy, but also wanted a festive mood to celebrate a chance for us to finally get together and catch up. The table was set simply for a small and intimate setting. These gorgeous sunflowers added a much needed pop of color to the table.
I dressed up the linen napkins a bit with a twine bow and a sprig of fresh rosemary. It kept the feel of the table rustic while adding a bit of a charming and whimsical touch.
We started with bruschetta and a dipping olive oil to dunk the bread in. Rather than assembling them separately, I toasted half a baguette, sliced up the rest, and dumped it all into the same basket. It took up far less space and had more of a homestyle feel than painstakingly assembling the bruschetta ahead of time.
I also made homemade peach lemonade to accompany our meal. The sweet, peachy flavor combined with the tartness of lemons is a completely addicting combination. And just look at that gorgeous color! I would make it again just for the sake of aesthetics–the fact that it is super tasty is just a plus!
As the main course, we enjoyed penne with bacon and a creamy fontinella sauce with tuscan grilled chicken. The original penne recipe calls for sliced chicken in the pasta, but I left it out since I opted for a different chicken dish. And let me tell you–this chicken is to die for. Juicy, flavorful, and bursting with flavor. All I can say is Ina Garten knows what she’s doing (especially when it comes to chicken!).
Dessert wasn’t even a question–I had to make tiramisu. But I did go with a spin on the traditional dish by making raspberry tiramisu. Summer is the perfect time for berries so it would have been a crime not to sneak some into this meal somehow. The layers of raspberry, ladyfingers, and mascarpone cream came together in a satisfying but not overly sweet finish.
It was wonderful getting to share a meal with my two closest friends!
Tuscan Style Dinner Party Menu
Bacon & Spinach Penne (left out the chicken)