After much anticipation, it was finally time for us to host a feast again! We decided on Cooking with Italian Grandmothers as the theme and distributed the recipes. This would be the first time the entire group could all attend (even if Jeff & Steph were a bit late to the party) so we assembled three tables together witha slew of mismatched chairsto accommodate our guests.
As our hungry feasters arrived, we served the appetizer Bagna Cauda of fresh farmer's market veggies andan anchovy dipping sauce.
The first course, which barely made the menu, yet proved to be my favorite dish, was Testaroli (chewy mountain pancakes with homemade pesto.) Elise & Philip cooked the pancakes to order on the skillet (insert attempted photo of Philip flipping mid-air pancake) and served them warm with the delicious pesto.
Next came the Primi. First was Gnocchi con Ragu, handmade by Becca & Jason with their very own gnocchi board. The pasta was plump and light and the sauce maintained that perfect tangy sweetness, with a rich beefy flavor. An upscale Chef Boyardee seemed most appropriate when searching for a familiar comparison.
Libby & Andy next served a light yet comforting bowl of Vincenzo' Pasta e Ceci (chickpeas with broken pasta.) This dish evoked nostalgia among the crowd, putting everyone at ease in preparation for the remaining courses. It was at this point as well when everyone realized the courses to follow and reconsidered their portions sizes thus far.
Cara & Rick perfected their soft-boiled eggs (after some struggle) and served the next dish, Leeks with Eggs and Olives. This plate was light and a great segue into the heartier part of the meal...or had the hearty part already been served? Everyone also enjoyed Cara & Rick's No Knead Bread that seemed to vanish before the main course even arrived. Many of us topped the rustic bread with some of Sharona & Brent's homemade Ricotta, of which they generously shared the leftovers as a precursor to their baked dish.
Sharona & Brent used the Ricotta to make Cauliflower and Ricotta Al Forno which was served with Jenny & Ethan's White Wine Braised Rabbit. The Cauliflower was cheesy and perfectly indulgent, while the rabbit proved to be a lighter entree, especially considering the portion sizes. Rabbit's feet certainly do give an accurate representation of the size of a rabbit's foot...or leg.
The meal concluded with Usha's Hazelnut Roll, which Jen & Adam accompanied with their homemade Pear Caramel Ice Cream. As you might recall, Jen & Adam provided the critically acclaimed Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookie and Strawberry Gelato Sandwiches from a previous feast, and so moving forward we refuse to assign them anything except dessert. Their hazelnut roll was a delicious end to the meal, and it paired wonderfully with the ice cream.
With the many courses and cooking time, the Feast lasted a quick 5 hours, so by the time everyone was finished and the last dish was washed, it was closing time. Our guests said their goodbyes and walked (or in Philip's case, shuffled) out the door. The feast was over, but the good news was that Becca & Jason made enough sauce to feed a small (Italian) village, so leftover spaghetti was on the menu for the near future!