Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Dinner Party

Mom's birthday dinner party, which was a month ago today (yikes), turned out great - lots of friends, food, and even more wine. Above is the menu that my enormously talented sister, Samantha, created. It has become a tradition that every time there is company for dinner at our house (read as: on holidays and Mom's birthday dinner), Samantha makes a menu that is displayed in a frame.

There were 9 guests for dinner, all women, who arrived at 6:30 that night. I began cooking at 10:00 a.m. and finished at 6:29 pm. Totally worth every moment; I spent most of my day trying to keep my mom out of the kitchen because she was the guest of honor, but when it came to making the pasta and then the agnolotti, my "go-go gadget arm" was broken. Her help was invaluable. Even more important was my Dad who was the best sous chef - prepped, cleaned; we all felt a little bad when he went into his office to watch the Brewers game and left us women to our devices.

So how about the food? Let's see. I was quite happy with the way the dishes came out, except for the agnolotti. Agnolotti is another word for ravioli - a filled pasta - referring the shape of the final product. I really made ravioli, but when Samantha put together the menu, I intended to make agnolotti, which are likened to a priest's hat. So, in an effort to make truly authentic ravioli, I rolled the pasta very thin, so thin you could see you hand through it. I even managed to keep it in one piece. Well, when I served the perfectly cooked pasta, all of the filling had come out in the water - my ravioli's popped! There were two blessings in this crappy situation: 1) I didn't realize it until the dish was platted and served; 2) There was a fresh pesto sauce on there, so it was still not bad; and 3) no one said anything. Man was I mad. I had invented the best friggin cheese filling. I used Mascarpone cheese as the base for its creamyness, freshly grated Parmesan and Ramano cheeses, then some grated garlic, salt, pepper - I know it was good because we made three tester ravioli that day.

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