No matter what type of special event you're hosting, Italian cuisine will be appropriate. Italian foods can range from casual, such as pizza and bread sticks, to fancy, such as seafood pasta. You can use Italian cuisine to create a romantic catering menu for soirees such as intimate dinner parties, wedding receptions, and anniversary celebrations.
Whether you're making the event food yourself or hiring a professional catering company to do it for you, an Italian-themed menu will work for any budget. If money is tight, you can still create a tasty and impressive food spread using everyday Italian ingredients and pantry staples. For an unlimited budget, consider incorporating fresh seafood into the appetizers and main courses.
Here are some ideas for creating an Italian catering menu:
Welcome party-goers to your event with mouthwatering Italian classics, such as crispy bruschetta, which are mini toasts topped with chopped tomatoes and herbs in a balsamic vinegar dressing, or stuffed mushroom caps.
As another idea, get creative with fried olives. For an unexpected but delicious twist on a typically cold appetizer, coat large, pitted olives in an Italian breadcrumb mixture and fry until they golden brown. You can use blue cheese- or garlic-stuffed olives for even more flavor.
You also can't go wrong with a fresh antipasto platter, which features a variety of treats to please all guests. Some platter ideas include sliced mozzarella and provolone cheese, salami, olives, pesto-infused hummus, carrots, and slices of crusty Italian bread.
After teasing guests' taste buds with the Italian-style appetizers, it's time to move on to the main course. One traditional menu idea that is sure to please a wide variety of party-goers is lasagna. Be sure to include both traditional meat and vegetarian, featuring fillings such as sauteed zucchini or eggplant, options.
Another main course to consider is shrimp scampi featuring a rich wine and butter sauce served over thin pasta, such as capellini. If seafood isn't in your budget, you can serve chicken marsala or parmesan, as well as a vegetarian option such as a creamy mushroom risotto.
You also can't go wrong with chicken fettuccini alfredo, baked ziti, or a simple Italian sausage, peppers, and onion dish.
End the catered meal on a sweet note with classic Italian desserts such as ricotta-stuffed cannoli, tiramisu featuring delicate lady fingers soaked in espresso, frosted anise cookies, and strawberry panna cotta made with fresh, ripe berries.