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Making Family Dinner Special

by - Monday, October 20, 2014

Now that that the weather has turned decidedly fall-like, I’m craving heartier food. Do you feel like that too? I say bring on the soups, the stews, and the pasta. World Pasta Day is on October 25th (did you know there was such a thing?) and Barilla has asked me to share my tips on creating a family dinner to celebration the occasion. I'm all for enjoying a good meal with your family and making pasta night feel a bit more out of the ordinary.

Feature your family’s favourite pasta dishes. My pasta dish of choice is usually thicker noodles in a cream or rose sauce. Sean prefers his filled with vegetables while Chloe is happy with a simple tomato sauce. So why not cook up multiple pasta dishes? 

I made two recipes: Barilla Farfalle with Red Onions, Tomatoes, Thyme, and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and this creamy pasta recipe with a few modifications (using pappardelle instead of penne and adding pancetta). It felt a bit indulgent (we don't usually have so much food at dinner!) but everybody was happy and we have enough leftovers for school lunches.


Basic ingredients the whole family loves

Use kitchen items as decor.  I thought I'd keep the decor simple and rustic with touches of wood and natural hues. I'm not sure how it happened, but I have six cutting boards in my house. They’re all different shapes and sizes and some are too pretty to be kept hidden away so I set the table with cutting boards instead of placemats.

Make appetizers easy with a charcuterie and cheese plate. A family dinner doesn’t have to be fancy to taste good. Pile dried meats, cheeses, nuts, and dried fruits on a serving platter for a do-it-yourself charcuterie board. Add classic sides like Caesar salad and crusty bread for a delicious way to start the meal.

A plate filled with dried pineapple, figs, and walnuts, Gouda and Boursin cheeses, prosciutto and salami  
Take table setting inspiration from your favourite restaurant. Bread baskets lined with napkins, kraft paper table runners, white dishware… these are all quick and simple ideas you can use at home to make an everyday meal stand out. For a bit of whimsy, I added a few Italian phrases at each place setting. Mangia!

Keep dessert simple. After a hearty bowl of pasta (or two), I like to end my meal with a simple dessert. Store bought profiteroles with melted chocolate drizzled on top are just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and don’t require a lot of prep time. 

From the food to the decor, this meal came together quickly. That's my kind of everyday celebration.

This post was brought to you by Barilla Canada. I'm an Honourary Barilla Ambassador and throughout the year, I'll be sharing recipe ideas, entertaining and hostess tips, and easy ways to bring well-being and healthy eating into your everyday life.

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