Michelle Baker, formerly of A Voce in New York City, developed this menu for a Italian-inspired dinner party. Filled with a combination of hearty meat dishes and lighter salads and fish dishes, there is something for everyone. — Allison Beck
Panzanella is a classic Italian bread salad. Baker says it’s good to serve any time during the year and is traditionally made using day-old ciabatta bread and whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand. Her roasted tomatoes were divine.
This is one of those dishes that you think, short ribs and meatballs together? Insanity. But no, the short rib sauce was smooth and satisfying. The meatballs were like little balls of freshness that brightened the dish.
After a somewhat heavy and very meaty pasta course, Baker served a light, flaky lemon sole dish. When menu planning, think about the meal as a whole and how best to balance flavors and textures.
While chocolate mousse may not sound very exciting, when done right, it is light, smooth, and pretty incredible. Baker says that while you can prepare the chocolate mousse the day before, to achieve a light and airy texture, it is best to make it the day of and take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving.