A recent email I received asked about an Italian menu for a catered event. Italian food is one of the most popular styles of food to serve especially when serving buffet style. Serving food from a buffet is preferable to many guests and is easier to manage than an event with a wait staff serving tables. One of the biggest advantages is the variety that can be offered. Although you will definitely want to include dishes with red sauce there are a multitude of Italian dishes to serve so that each dish doesn’t have to seem the same. Parmesan is the most popular and should almost always be included and a variety of chicken, shrimp, eggplant, meatball and sausage will satisfy almost anyone. Veal is a very popular choice but is also very expensive.

Try a few different items at your next event. As mentioned before, some people only think of red sauce and cheese when an Italian menu is suggested. There can and are so many other choices to consider. As far as the types of sauces that should be offered, there are red sauces of course and there are many varieties , such as marinara , bourguignon or pesto rosso, which  combines ground sun dried tomatoes and almonds, and many more. Other sauces to consider are béchamel based sauces, white or red wine sauces, alfredo and there are many dishes that include oils and butters as the base ingredient.

Italian food items include a very wide variety of meats vegetables and fish. The types of ingredients were originally selected by region, season, and the weather. You will find Italian menu items will include a lot of beef chicken and veal dishes. Seafood is also a very popular choice in this Mediterranean country. The biggest factor in the variety of Italian dishes is however the regions of Italy.

Northern Italy for example differs from the rest of Italy in a number of ways. Unsalted butter is used in this region as opposed to olive oil and polenta and risotto are very popular pastas. In northern Italy there are many different regions and cuisines as there are in the south as well. In the south one region, the Puglisi region is classic Mediterranean with an abundance of olive oil and fish, coupled with bread and wine, but that will be discussed in a later blog.

The purpose of this particular blog is to get you to think outside the box a little. This can be a great way to impress guests by offering something a little different and therefore a wider variety of choices. Keep in mind though not going too far outside the box. One or two unusual choices will usually suffice. I have discovered that a lot of us Americans like our spaghetti and meatballs and chicken parmesan. To stray too far outside the box can sometimes be a disaster. So always remember to offer the old tried and true but it won’t hurt to include a different kind of choice to your next event when going Italian.