Italian Dinner Party for 30

Every year I host a dinner party for my law firm as a recruiting event for our summer associates.  I first started doing this about 10 years, and it’s become an annual tradition.  The concept of the party is to make it interactive, to get the guests cooking, plating and serving.  I come up with a multi-course menu of Italian dishes (or at least Italian-inspired dishes) and pair each dish with an Italian wine.  I buy all the food, prep it, do some preliminary cooking that might be needed, and then invite the guests to help with the final cooking and assembly.  I’ve had them make ravioli, stuff arancini and stir risotto.  They’ve made pizza, shaved truffles, and whipped cream.  It’s turned out to be a ton of fun, because a summer clerk may end up working on a dish with the firm’s managing partner.  I’m always surprised by  who really wants to get their hands dirty in the kitchen.

Anyhow, I made the brilliant decision to host this year’s party on Saturday, just a week after I returned from a 2-week trip from Alaska — a week of catching up on the work that came in while I was gone.  I just came up with the menu concept on Tuesday, and then bought the wines yesterday.  I made it pretty simple on myself, as the two main courses involved dishes prepared in the oven.  For a crowd of 30, that’s very helpful.   Almost as helpful as renting all the dishes needed for these dinners.

The event is two days away, and I thought I’d share my menu with y’all (after the break).  You’ll see that I kind of took the notion of specifying the origin of the ingredients a bit too far, as a sort of insider foodie joke.


Harnett County Heirloom Grape Tomato and Smoked Mozzarella Bruschetta

Grass-fed Carolina Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with Lemon, Capers and Parmigiano-Reggiano

2005 Abbona Dolcetta D’Alba

2006 Custoza Lugana (Trebbiano)


Mascarpone-Filled Daniels Street Figs, Prosciutto and Baby Spinach with 30 Year Old Balsamic Vinegar


Traverse City Chanterelle Mushroom and Perigord Summer Truffle Risotto

2003 L’Armangia Barbera D’Asti “Titon”


Oven Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Popal’s Tomato Aioli and Asparagus

2006 Santi Soave Classico “Monteforte”


Short Rib “Osso Buco” with Olives and Lemon Gremolata Orzo

2004 Tenuta Casabianca Super Tuscan


Clara’s Ciambela with  Sandhills PeachesTwo Ways

2002 Accordini Recioto della Valpolicella Classico “Acinatico”


8 Responses to Italian Dinner Party for 30

  1. Dana says:

    I’d still be cleaning the house at this point 🙂

  2. Robert says:

    I should have gone to law school instead of culinary school….

    Menu looks great.

  3. Varmint says:

    And you don’t even want to know how many lawyers say they should have gone to culinary school!

  4. Listing Straight says:

    I’m really good with words and have been told I should have considered a career in law. I’m also really good at washing dishes…. Any extra spots?

  5. Lucky, lucky clerks. Do they know how LUCKY they are?

  6. Mittany says:

    Are you sure you don’t need any non-lawyer, but competent cook help??? I’ll be NICE to everyone (not my normal disposition)

  7. Pam says:

    When’s the staff day again? At least pass on some recipes to tide us over until your cookbook comes out.

  8. Cakeboy says:

    Cake, Italian Cream Cake, in particular, would make your diners think that you were really a discerning cook. As it is, it’s a lovely meal and all, but cake would have really topped it off and left them talking for another year.

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