I aim to throw a big dinner party with friends at least once a year. Not your garden variety, "Come over, let's hang out and I'll cook something" dinner; rather a pull-out-all-the-stops, plan-ahead, you're-gonna-be-here-for-four-hours type of deal.
This particular time, I decided we were going to cram 12 of us in my tiny apartment. I went easy on myself and stuck with what I know best: Italian food. An easy antipasti platter with cheeses and salami, a foolproof caesar salad dressing I altered and lightened up a bit, my grandmother's meatballs and sauce recipe that I can make in my sleep and a salted caramel budino to seal the deal along with a beer pairing of a vanilla stout and an autumn maple ale. I've got Greg Engert of Churchkey/NRG and the incredibly friendly, helpful staff at Beer Wine & Co. to thank for their input on the beer pairings. I tried my hand at baking focaccia for the first time, which went alright. Fresh pasta on the other hand was a bit of a flop this go-around. No matter though, boxed rigatoni worked just fine.
It was, without exaggeration, one of the best nights I've had all year. Probably the best dinner party I've thrown thus far. Eleven smiling faces around me of friends newer and old, a huge feast, who knows how many bottles of wine, clinking glasses. I forgot about taking pictures of dinner and the finished product. I was too busy soaking up a night with good friends and good food.
I am indeed a very fortunate and grateful girl.