Holiday Entertaining with Italpasta

Monday, December 4, 2017

I love hosting people at our condo! Large gatherings, dinners, sleepovers... you'd be surprised at how many people we can fit in our tiny 600 square foot condo.

While every occasion is a delight for us, December is where everything comes full circle and we love to have intimate dinner parties with our friends to enjoy good food, drinks and conversation. It's also a great way to wrap up the year!

Entertaining can be both fun and stressful. Lucky for us, Italpasta made the process a lot easier with their incredible offerings that inspired us to create quick recipes for a dinner.

The first step for us is to make a list, items we could serve for each course of the meal: light appetizers + refreshments, one hot ticket item, main dish and of course, dessert!

What started as any other meal prep turned into a challenge for me and James. Using the variety of pastas, we decided to incorporate macaroni, penne AND spaghettini (all from Italpasta) to create an overall theme for the night.

And, yes, our guests were ready to pass out after eating all the deliciousness.

Baguette Crackers Recipe
  • 2 small baguettes, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Italpasta Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
Mix olive oil, garlic powder, salt and sugar into a measuring cup. Using a large bowl or plastic bag, pour 1/3 of your mix into the edge of the bowl or bag, add 1/3 of your baguette slices, and shake.

Put your baguette slices onto a cooking sheet and repeat until you've done this with all of your slices.

Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until sugar has browned.

Let them cool down and they are good to serve + eat!

Along with the baguette crackers, we started with a light salad full of healthy greens (kale, spinach, pears, celery, walnuts) before diving into Italpasta-goodness.

I always believe there should be a hot ticket item as part of a meal when entertaining guests. This is something that will be talked about for YEARS, and people will always come to you for the recipe!

For our intimate holiday dinner, we went with creamy mac-and-cheese, only with A LOT of flavour.

Now, that is a piece of art. James actually doesn't eat cheese (except on pizza - weird guy, I know) and this looked appetizing even to him.

If there is anything to take away from this post, I recommend trying this recipe. It is such a warm, hearty meal that can be served as an appetizer or the main course.

Creamy Mac-n-Cheese Recipe
  • 3 cups Italpasta Macaroni
  • 1.5 cups shredded Balderson Cheddar
  • 2.5 cups of 18% table cream
  • 5 diced green onion
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
Mix the spices and flour together in a small bowl. Melt butter in a large pot and mix in spices and flour. Add cream and bring to a light simmer, let it cook for 5 minutes. After, mix in cheese until it's melted.

While preparing the sauce, boil macaroni, do not overcook! Drain cooked pasta and mix into the sauce, stir together and add your onions and corn.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F and spoon pasta (along with the sauce) into a ramekin dish, overfill and top with shredded cheddar and green onions. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese turns golden.

Add some black pepper on top for a bit more a zing and it is ready to serve!

As if our friends weren't already full, we decided to treat them to MORE food. James and I knew instantly that we wanted to serve a meat sauce with lots of garlic flavouring and sweetness from some of the ingredients!

Italpasta has a great variety of sauces you can choose from when creating your pasta dish. To emphasize on the garlic flavour that we wanted, we went ahead with the classic Spicy Roasted Garlic Sauce.

Sundried Tomato Bolognese Penne Recipe
  • 4 jars of Italpasta Roasted Garlic Sauce
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1kg stewed beef
  • 175g beef salami, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 cups white mushrooms, diced
  • 3 celery sticked, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 package of Italpasta penne
  • 3 tablespoons Italpasta Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 7 garlic cloves
In a large pot, pour oil and bring to heat, add onion and sliced garlic. Add salami and stir. With the onions and garlic browned, add the cubed stew beef. Stir and let it all cook until the meat has browned, add the Italpasta sauce. Stew for 30 minutes, add vegetables and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Let the sauce cool while boiling the pasta. Place pasta into a large crock pot cover with sauce, and bake for 10 minutes.

Enjoy the pasta!

A meal isn't complete unless you include dessert (especially if you have guests)! In my Pakistani culture, we have a tradition where every Eid we gather at my parents house and have a big brunch together and hang out there for the day. My mom makes saviyan, which consists of sweet vermicelli in milk topped with delicious dried fruit.

When we came up with the pasta theme for our dinner, I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to test my mom's recipe, only with spaghettini. It definitely worked, although I find that a thicker noodle soaks up all the milk, creating more of a quiche-like texture. Still delicious, but just slightly different from the creamy cultural dish.

I encourage you to give it a try, it is delightful!

Saviyan (Pasta Pudding)
  • 1 package of Italpasta spaghettini
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2L milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup rasins
  • 1 cup shredded almonds
  • 1 cup whole cardamom seeds

In a large pot, add butter, milk and cardamom seeds and let the mixture boil for a few minutes. Add the spaghettini and fry until they are soft and browned. Pour in raisins, almonds, sugar and stir until everything is evenly spread and cooked well.

You can choose to serve this hot or chilled. 

We had a blast hosting a couple of our best friends for a Italpasta-themed holiday dinner. Hope you enjoyed the photos, recipes and entertaining ideas.

Do you love pasta as much as we do? Let's chat on Instagram or Twitter!

+ + + + + + + + + +

Photos by Sarah Bodri

This post was kindly sponsored by Italpasta.
However, all recipes, photos and opinions are my own and 100% honest.
Powered by Blogger.