Swedish, Norwegian, a tiny tidge of Irish, and bits of other Northern European Peoples are what make up my DNA. I have the ruddy skin and stocky ankles belonging to any quality Scandinavian grandmother. But lefse, lutefisk, and långkok? These leave me cold. The foods that move and comfort me are pastas, red wine braises, polenta, porcini, and Sangiovese.

I must have been Italian in a past life.

My dinners and parties usually pay homage to my adopted or former nationality without apology. Most recently I made dinner for thirteen guests, celebrating friendship and the season of Christmas. Armed with my copy of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, here’s what I served:


Olive, Genoa Salami e Parmigiano

Prosciutto San Daniele con la Mela

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi


Ravioli con Ricotta e Pomodoro


Manzo Brasato al Vino Rosso

Forno Patate Arrosto a Dadini

Venda Colli Euganei Rosso


Fagiolini al Limone

Zucca Arrosto


Verdure Miste con Scaglie di Parmigiano


Crostata di Mele

Semifreddo di Cioccolato

There were elements that really worked and some that could have been better. A thicker ravioli pasta would have kept the parcels from rupturing but the texture and taste were very good. The braised beef was amazing, and my first attempt at semifreddo was tasty indeed.

Multiple course dinners are tricky in my tiny kitchen but I’m willing to keep practicing. The only apology I’ll make for being an Italian wannabe is that I use Google to translate. Language learning is on my list of things to do but I’d rather cook and eat. Salud!