Five Course Italian Feast

I started out yesterday morning with the most noble of intentions, naturally. After pretty much being stuck in the house for the past month hoping I’d feel better, I’ve actually had a glimmer of hope the past week or so when I started feel much better than I had been.

So, genius that I am, I had the bright idea to celebrate my feeling well by making my husband a gorgeous five-course dinner, of which only three courses I’d be making myself.

I started out the morning feeling fine. Did my shopping for dinner, stopping at Sam’s Club, Giant Eagle, and the North Market. Made it back home, but when it came time to actually start the prep work, I was totally knackered by the time I finished chopping the veggies. Luckily, I’m married to the sweetest guy in the world who completely understood, and ended up doing the cooking himself. 🙂 So the dinner did go off without a hitch, thanks to him. Me? I think I need to stop overestimating my energy level and start working within the constraints of it.

Now, back to the dinner. The first course was ravioli al forno, which we developed as a copycat recipe to be just like the one they serve at Bravo. It gave us the opportunity to break in the individual sized Emile Henry lasagna dishes we got on discount at Amazon last month. Now, you can use store brands for the ingredients in this dish, but we used Pastaria’s pesto, tomato alfredo, and tomato-basil sauces, plus a combination of two different types of ravioli (six cheese and sundried tomato asiago), also from Pastaria.


Ravioli al Forno (Bravo copycat)

1 lb. ravioli of your choice
8 oz. alfredo sauce
8 oz. pesto sauce
8 oz. marinara sauce
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Prepare ravioli according to package directions. Brush bottom of baking dish with alredo sauce, and lay ravioli in a single layer. Place sauces in ziploc bags with corner cut to allow piping. Pipe sauce on top of ravioli diagonally, alternating alfredo, pesto, alfredo, marinara, repeating until entire pan is covered with lines of sauce. Mix the breadcrumbs and melted butter together and sprinkle on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

The second course was Italian Wedding Soup, which I’ve blogged about previously.

The third course was a mixed baby greens salad purchased from Pastaria, although you can find the recipe for a copycat of it here, in my archives.

The entree was a copycat recipe for Carrabba’s Chicken Marsala, found on Recipezaar. The sauce came out a little thinner than I would have liked, but the flavor was fantastic. In the future, I’d proably let it cook a little longer to thicken some. We served it with mashed potatoes, and substituted shiitake mushrooms rather than white mushrooms.


For dessert, we each had a piece of tiramisu from Pastaria. While tiramisu is easy to make, we didn’t see the point of making a whole pan of it just to get two servings of a dessert which, when made by Pastaria, is just as good as our own.
All in all, quite an enjoyable meal – I highly recommend Pastaria as a place to get the ingredients for an Italian meal of your own. I pretty much collapsed exhausted right after eating, as heavy food will do that to you when you’re already tired. I’m really looking forward to eating the leftovers tonight. 🙂