An Italian Dinner: More Than Just a Family Meal…a European Experience at Home!

Posted on Apr 28 2014 - 9:03am by Jessi Meehan

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t LOVE Italian food, and the 3P team is no different! We’re spoiled though, because my Aunt Nancy and Aunt Rena are Italian and make some of the BEST spaghetti sauce ever, and so does my Mom! Lots of veggies, all fresh, simple and wholesome.

Aside from the fact that Italian might be one of the world’s most-liked cuisines, it also has recipes of dishes that are unbelievably simple to make. In addition, the ingredients used are generally super easy to find. You could buy them from e-stores like Real Italiano (visit site), or even at a local grocery store.

So a little while ago when Nancy came to visit, everyone requested that she please make some of her sauce…so we turned it into an Italian night at home. We ran with our theme, had a “delizioso” meal on a trattoria-style table, and the conversations and flavours of Italy were right here at home. It doesn’t get much better than that!

We paired a checkered red table cloth with matching Mediterranean-style table décor to create the illusion of dining in Italy.


We added a tall candelabra with multi-color dripping candlesticks for height, dimension, and that charming old-world feel. We then pulled out a few hand-made items that my Mom was gifted from her “Practically Perfect” friend Betty-Jo, over 18 years ago. These matching bibs with the words “Pasta” ironed onto them and a candle holder fashioned directly out of a tomato sauce can, always add such a personal touch and memories! Stay tuned for next month when we feature Betty Jo’s creative gift idea and packaging…these bibs deserve their own post for sure!


We added grape-vine salt and pepper shakers, along with vintage Italian poster shakers as well, and some actual pasta as table scatter! Food as table scatter may seem a tad odd, but for a table like this, it’s just what we needed!


The napkins were kept simple, with a matching colour theme and adorable fork and knife napkin rings that we have had in our family for years. Everything melded together into a very European feel, and when we added a little bit of Italian music to the mix: Bellisimo! (As they say!)


Dinner was delicious, and we couldn’t wait to share this simple and traditional recipe with you for your family to enjoy!


a few tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 (32-ounce) packages of crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens. If you’re making a meat sauce, you can also brown your meat while the sauce is cooking, and then add it to the sauce to simmer until you’re ready to serve!


We like to garnish our pasta with a tiny bit of basil or parsley for colour, and then, of course, serve with a fresh salad, crusty bread, and a bit of parmesan cheese! As my Aunt Nancy would say…Bon Appetit!

Do you have any family recipes from the country your family hails from? Any traditional home-cooked meals that you request when the family comes to visit? We’d love to share recipes with you!

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