Planning an Italian Cuisine Night? Here’s How to Get Started

By  //  April 24, 2023

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Italian food is an expansive collection of flavors that make up its sauces, meats, cheeses, wines, and so much more. This cuisine is often considered one of the most popular and sought-after worldwide.

Whether at a restaurant or in someone’s home, you’ve likely had an Italian meal cooked for you many times — a simple pasta sauce or a decadent dessert.

If you haven’t yet tried an Italian meal, it is undoubtedly one of the diverse cuisines you will definitely want to try.

When it comes to planning your own Italian cuisine night with friends or family, there’s certainly a lot to do and organize before dinner can be served. In this guide, we help you navigate the steps necessary to successfully plan and execute your own Italian meal.

Here’s how to get started.

Step One: Gather Your Ingredients

Before you can begin cooking or putting together your menu, you need your ingredients ready and waiting in the kitchen. One of the most efficient aspects of Italian cooking is the knowledge that there are many interchangeable herbs and flavors that can be used in a variety of dishes — this makes shopping for ingredients much easier.

Some of the key herbs you’ll want to have in your pantry are basil, oregano, parsley, and rosemary — don’t forget the standard salt, pepper, and fresh garlic. You’ll also need quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar if you plan on making a salad or drizzling over your pizza. No matter your recipe, these staple ingredients are sure to make an appearance or two. The rest will depend on the specific dishes you’re making.

Step Two: Antipasto

Antipasto is a staple when Italians sit down to eat together. This is an appetizer that often consists of cured meats, cheeses, olives, and fresh bread. Your antipasto can include your own mixture of these items, depending on flavor preferences and allergies. Its purpose is to kick off the entire meal and act as a social component for guests to mingle over bite-sized foods. Canadian Food delivery service, SkipTheDishes, recently released their FoodWiki where they offer educational and historical insight into the nuances and uniqueness of Italian cuisine.

Credit: Shameel mukkath via Pexels

Step Three: Select Your Main Dish

The main dish is an important part of your Italian feast and is often considered the star of the night, so you want to present something that you feel you can execute confidently. Italian cuisine is known for its simple, hearty meals, which are often easy for even beginners to put together.

A simple pomodoro sauce is a classic choice and a favorite among both restaurants and home cooks. All you need to get started is to saute onion and garlic — plus your choice of diced or pureed tomatoes. Each cook’s sauce can vary in flavor. Some prefer a sauce with strong garlic and basil flavor, while others will add a pinch or two of sugar to cut the sauce’s acidity.

On the other hand, you could opt for a fun and collaborative pizza-making experience. This would allow your guests or kids to add their own Italian toppings, whether they love extra cheese, olives, or even prosciutto. No wrong answers here — it’s all about you and your guests!