Last weekend, before I accidentally erased all of the photos from my computer, we hosted some friends for dinner and the entire menu was from Foolproof. If you're new to the party, you can read all about my Barefoot Contessa project, here.
I dutifully photographed every step in the preparation of dinner... and then deleted all of the photos from my computer (have I mentioned that?). I do, however, still have small versions of my photos - just not the big pretty ones. Even though these are not big and beautiful, I still wanted to share the party with you and our menu.
Barefoot Contessa Dinner Party
A Foolproof Menu
Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas, page 42
Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta, page 66
Straw & Hay with Gorgonzola, page 156
Sticky Toffee Date Cake with Bourbon Glaze, page 220
I planted African Violets in my latte cups (Sur La Table, $6... deal!) that I used as a simple centerpiece.
With wine before dinner, I served my version of Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas with Crusty Bread. After reading Ina's recipe, I realized it sounded a lot like a favorite starter at one of my favorite restaurants, Lidia's. Lidia Bastianich, who is co-owner of Eatly in NYC with Mario Batali, also owns a fabulous authentic Italian restaurant in KC. So, I modified the recipe to exclude the tomatoes and added basil instead. It was so tasty and definitely reminded me of dining at Lidia's.
Toasted baguette ready for topping.
Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta
Getting ready for the Straw & Hay.
Cooking the onions...
Crumbling in the gorgonzola.
The sauce was so delicious! I'm not a huge fan of gorgonzola, but I love Ina's Gorgonzola Cream sauce for Beef Tenderloin, so I trusted that it would be just as good. It definitely was - I think cooking the gorgonzola mellows its strong flavor.
I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find authentic Tagliatelle, but I went to our local Italian grocery, Bella Napoli, and settled for this pasta that I thought looked like it would work - flat, thin pasta.
When I got home, I realized that it actually was Tagliatelle - and it was perfect. It was better than linguine or fettucine, because it was so thin and delicate, while being a long flat noodle.
Dinner is served. One of our favorite dinners! My friends, Leah and Geoff, are huge fans of Pasta Carbonara - they loved this pasta.
We ended the night with the Sticky Toffee Date Cake. Mike and I had had a warm toffee pudding in Vail last month that we loved and this was just as delicious - it was so, so moist and dense... and light at the same time.