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, and very simple to make.

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 flavors of Italy were right here at home. It doesn’t get much better than that!

To create the illusion of dining in Italy, we paired a checkered red table cloth with matching Mediterranean style table decor.


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

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute 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 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 color, 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 family comes to visit? We’d love to share recipes with you!

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