The fabulous Italian dinner party

I really love to cook, and so I started a Meetup group for adventurous cooks. We get together once a month and have potluck from a country randomly selected from around the world. I look forward to this every month, and January was no exception. Except this month we were doing Italy, and the dinner was called “Break Your New Year’s Resolutions Feast”! Two of our folks were making fresh pasta for the occasion, shown in the dish above. Somehow I was going to have to navigate this meal full of delectable pasta, garlic bread, flourless chocolate cake, etc.

My boyfriend and I started by making sure it wouldn’t all be pasta, and brought some things we could be sure to eat and enjoy. His Italian pork roast is pictured at right (the man knows how to cook a roast), and I dreamed up antipasto in the middle of the night – prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, mozzarella balls rolled in olive oil and herbs, stuffed mushrooms, and olive and artichoke heart mix, and various tapenades (red pepper, artichoke, and eggplant). Carb-friendly dishes brought by others included chicken marsala, green salad, and caprese salad (below).

I did skip the bread, because really, it’s just bread :) but the pasta could not be denied. I had to see how my friends did with their fresh pasta with garlic and clams, the putannesca, and the manicotti. I allowed myself a very small portion of each, perhaps amounting to a half-cup total – just enough to enjoy the flavors and judge the dishes. On top of that, I had a respectable glass of Sangiovese wine and a few bites of (fortunately flourless) chocolate cake with orange sauce.

And in the end, I had lost half a pound by the next day, and a good time was had by all (I’m second from the left). Salute!

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