No, we are not Italian, but my Dad’s favorite place to eat is Olive Garden, so I wanted to create his own Italian restaurant for his birthday, complete with Menus. These were fun to make and each guest had one. Since I, of course, do not know a lick of Italian I found this groovy site on the internet that helped me change my English words to the language of love.
My inspiration for the recipes came from an old hardcover Italian cookbook my mom picked up for me from an estate sale. Inside is a handwritten message from the original purchaser to his mother
“To My perpetually chubby Mom. Christmas 1958. From your always hungry son.”
I bet she couldn’t hold back the tears when she opened up this very thoughtful gift from her son on that Christmas morning. I imagine that the whole family gathered that year and enjoyed a lovely dinner prepared by Mom.
In the same spirit, I wanted to make a meal that would let my Dad know just how much he is loved by his family. I even talked my teen into playing the very important role of our Waiter.
There was a nice spread of appetizers, Bruschetta on toast
An Italian Deviled egg recipe from the Pudgy Mom’s cookbook that included anchovy and cocktail sauce. I found that a lot of the authentic recipes included anchovy’s.
I couldn’t forget the stuffed mushrooms at Dad’s party as these are a favorite of his. Good thing I had a whole other 9X13 pan because these buggers disappeared fast!
Of course we had to have these colorful Caprese Skewers. I loved how they looked on my antique cake plate
How lovely it all looked on the table. I must say, I was pretty proud of myself!
We could have stopped there, but I had a main course planned. Veal Picatta. I’ve never even eaten this dish before, but when I read the recipe I knew It had to make an appearance at our event. It was served with a side of my Creamy Pesto Pasta recipe. I even made the Pesto!
I had assumed that I would be able to find veal at my local grocery store…NOT! I have to order it from a meat market…$60.00 later, we would all have a 40z serving. I’d never made it before and the pressure of making sure I didn’t make a mistake at that price almost broke me, but I stayed focused and this was the final result.
Everyone seemed to enjoy this dish, but to be honest, I’m pretty sure I used too much lemon and chicken could have easily replaced the veal for a less expensive and just as tasty dish. My lovely family, though, only offered compliments.
Whew, success! We all had a great time and I know that this is an Italian Birthday that my Dad will remember for years to come.
After all the clean up was done, I had to give props to my little guy as he was so good and stayed out of mommy’s way while I was busy in the kitchen.
The day was a lot of planning and work, but it truly was labor of love. The best part was having my boys, Mom, Dad, Grandma Marvetta and Uncle Doug together to celebrate a very special man, our Figlio, Marito, Papa and Poppi (son, husband, father and grandfather)