Home > Dinner Party > Anatomy of a Menu: Italian Sunday Family Dinner, FOODalogue Style


“Old school” Sunday dinners are an all-afternoon affair with family sitting around the table eating traditional Italian-American multi-course dinners.

My menu was definitively Italian-inspired but not necessarily traditional. 

I wasn’t planning to do a post about this dinner when I invited my family but it was so enjoyed by all including the chef (me), I’m posting a few iPhone photos and notes that I hope will inspire.

The menu evolved from my usual approach to entertaining  … what I want to eat, cook, have on hand and, oh yeah, and what I think my company will enjoy. I followed no recipes, except one (see broccoli rabe below) so I may not remember every ingredient, but you’ll get the idea.

First Course: A pass-around family-style array of antipasto items.


Tomato Caprese with Pesto Vinaigrette and fried artichoke hearts (rear).


Roasted mini peppers with a tuna, bread, caper, raisins stuffing and drizzled with a balsamic glaze; sausage-stuffed mushrooms; pickled broccoli rabe, Sicilian olives.


Toasted lard bread and lemon ricotta with basil dust.

And, then, of course, there was a pasta course.

family-dinner-9-of-9Roasted butternut squash, porchetta, peas. Finished with generous amount of grated cheese, fried sage and toasted hazelnuts.

The third course was a stuffed center cut pork roast served on a cannellini bean puree and served with marinated stringbeans and potatoes.


Layered with mortadella, bread stuffing with sauteed shallots, garlic, sundried tomatoes, sage, chopped dates, parmesan, lemon/orange zest and moistened with a squeezed orange. Layered on top is a mixed olive salad that had been marinated with anchovies, olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon juice.


We ended with coffee and a luscious banana and date cake that my sister made but, sorry, no photo or recipe.

NOTE: Various ingredients were prepped and/or cooked in stages over a couple of days. It makes it so much easier on ‘the day’.

P.S. That’s not my family in first photo but representative of those traditional Sunday dinners.

8 Comments, RSS

  • Norma

    says on:
    October 18, 2016 at 9:52 am

    The Italian side of me just got inspired. What a spead and everything is absolutely mouth watering. IPhone pictures are perfect.
    Norma recently posted..SCALLOPS, CHORIZO AND GARBANZO (CHICKPEA) PUREE –My Profile

  • anne gesualdo

    says on:
    October 18, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Joni, if I didn’t know better I would swear that was my grandfather at the head of the table and the rest of my family at my mother’s house. It’s just perfect. And needless to say i’m starving.
    thanks for the memories

  • Angela Roberts

    says on:
    October 18, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Wow. That all looks amazing and that’s a wonderful picture of the family.
    Angela Roberts recently posted..Make Pumpkin Pie Spice and My Favorite Pumpkin RecipesMy Profile

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      October 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Yes, but not my family (see last line of post).

  • Dorothy

    says on:
    October 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    I want to be Italian.

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      October 18, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      You always make me smile.

  • Liz

    says on:
    October 21, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Memories for all!

  • prouditaliancook

    says on:
    October 21, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    OMG, Give me all this instead of turkey dinner any time, what a feast!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge