Welcome to part two of the Bertolli Gold Label Italian Progressive Dinner Party series that I’m hosting (along with Tracy, Adrianna, Kristen, and Carrian). This is the part where food comes to life around the table. I knew I wanted to have a small, intimate get together with good friends to share the spaghetti & bison meatball dish I created. I wanted to have a dinner non-party, if you will. I didn’t want to belabor anything. I just wanted to cook great food, consume it, and hang out with my friends. And so I did. My friends Pap & Chuck graciously hosted me in their home and we invited a handful of close friends over to join us.
Thanksgiving just passed through. That time when everyone, even the self-proclaimed non-cooks, turn on their dormant ovens & everyone does that thing people (myself included) have taken to calling, generally, gathering. Dinner partying. With family or friends, we all converge around a turkey and its court of regional sides, generally pot luck style. I’m so happy there’s at least one day a year where it’s a given, and I’m here to fight the good fight for gatherings for other reasons or no reason at all. For dinner parties. For dinner non-parties. What’s a dinner non-party? It’s just a dinner with people you like. It’s food without fuss. While I love to make the effort to make each moment beautiful, I think it’s important to remember that the most vital thing is that the moment happen at all. Don’t let dreams of Pinterest perfect gatherings keep you procrastinating. Just cook some pasta, toss a salad, and throw these spicy, salted chocolate soufflés in the fridge to bake off at the last minute. It can be done single handedly in an afternoon. The evening after this dinner we all huddled around a fire in the backyard taking silly photos, listening to Taytay Swifties, and (at some point) someone took to ambushing people with coffee ground smeared on their face like a warrior. I don’t even know. The party went on well into the wee hours (even after I’d long gone to bed like an old lady), and it was everything a get together should be. It was about people, not pretense.
For the Bertolli progressive dinner party, each of us bloggers created one dish as part of a complete menu of Italian goodness from antipasti down on to dessert. The recipe I brought to progressive series was the homemade spaghetti & fennel bison meatballs I made a couple of weeks back. So that was the star of the gathering pictured here alongside a simple massaged kale & apple salad with my favorite dessert, this recipe for salted spicy chocolate soufflé (recipe at the bottom of the post). It’s the best because you can actually make it ahead and refrigerate or freeze it. Here is the complete progressive dinner party menu:
Bertolli Gold Label Italian Dinner Menu
• Tracy’s Mushroom Polenta Bites and Anitpastai Platter
• Kristen’s Caramelized Onion Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
• My Homemade Spaghetti & Bison Fennel Meatballs with Porcini Truffle Sauce
• Carrian’s Balsamic and Caramelized Onion Chicken Parmesan
• Adrianna’ Persimmon Galette
For more Italian inspiration, head over to Pinterest and check in with Bertolli on Facebook and follow #BertolliGoldLabel to keep up with the Bertolli Gold Label Dinner Party to see how the other bloggers’ dinner parties turned out!
- 4 6 oz ramekins (you can even use coffee mugs so long as they’re oven safe!)
- About 1 tablespoons sugar for coating ramekins
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter plus more for greasing ramekins
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 of kosher salt or try a smoked salt
- 1/4 of cayenne pepper
- 2 large eggs separated, at room temperature
- 1 large egg white at room temperature
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- If baking right away, position a rack in the lower third of the oven & heat to 375°.
- Grease ramekins & sprinkle with sugar.
- Put chocolate, butter, and milk in a heatproof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted & mixture is smooth.
- Remove the bowl & whisk in the egg yolks. (Don’t worry if the mixture isn’t perfectly smooth at this point.)
- In a medium bowl beat egg whites & cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in a 1/4 cup sugar and beat on high until the whites are stiff peaks.
- Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it then gently fold in the remaining egg white until just incorporated.
- Divide mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins, filling each 3/4 full. The soufflés can be prepared to this point, covered tightly, and refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to a few months. Bake directly from the refrigerator or freezer (do not thaw if frozen).
- Put soufflés on a baking sheet. Bake until they rise & crack on top and a wooden skewer in the center emerges gooey (but not completely liquid), 14-16 minutes (15-17 from fridge, 17-20 if from freezer). Dust with a bit of powdered sugar, and maybe an extra dash of cayenne and salt if you like. Serve immediately.
My name is Beth, Elizabeth Evelyn to be exact. A native Tennessean, I was born in the South.
I am the author behind Local Milk Blog.
Local milk is a journal devoted to home cookery, travel, family, and slow living—to being present & finding sustenance of every kind.
It’s about nesting abroad & finding the exotic in the everyday.
Most of all it’s about the perfection of imperfections and seeing the beauty of everyday, mundane life.