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Columbus Day Recipes and Menus

Does anyone really need an excuse for an Italian feast? I do not but, for those who do, Columbus Day is the perfect opportunity. I have posted two delicious Italian menus for the occasion. The first is an Italian buffet, inspired by a rehearsal dinner my mother created for my brother's wedding that is quite easy due to make-ahead dishes, including antipasti and lasagna. Take advantage of the grocery store and a local bakery for the accompanying desserts of Italian pastries and frozen treats. The second menu is a 'Build-Your-Own' Sandwich Party featuring one of my all-time favorites, Italian sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions. As the title suggests, everyone assembles their own sandwich, so it is easy on the cook and perfect for vegetarians who prefer an equally delicious sandwich of peppers without the sausage. The potato salad and dessert, Tiramisu, can be prepared a day ahead.

Serve Italian wines or cocktails with either of the menus, and coffee or espresso to accompany the desserts. I have included preparation notes and each recipe has links to alternate choices. If you do not find what you are looking for, you can visit my Italian Recipes page, where you will find many more recipes from which to choose. Additionally, you can use the search box above or browse the Recipes Files for other dishes to round out the meal.


Menu I - Italian Dinner Buffet
Menu II - Build-Your-Own Italian Sandwich Party

Italian Flag Image

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Menu I
Italian Dinner Buffet

Mixed Antipasti Salad

Mom's Lasagna
Meatballs and Sausage

Rustic Italian Bread

Assorted Italian Pastries and Frozen Desserts

Preparation Notes: The lasagna recipe takes time but can be prepared, assembled and refrigerated the day before baking or several months ahead and frozen as indicated in the recipe notes. Homemade marinated vegetables for the antipasto should be prepared the day before and refrigerated. Take some help from the deli as noted in the recipe. If making your own bread, prepare it ahead and refrigerate or freeze. Alternately, purchase a good quality crusty bread or breadsticks. Store-bought pastries and frozen treats complete the meal. Some choices are cannoli, biscotti and/or Italian cookies, served with gelato or Italian ice.

Menu II
Build-Your-Own Italian Sandwich Party

Italian Sausage Sandwiches
with Peppers and Onions

Italian Potato Salad

Spinach and Arugula Salad
with Tarragon Vinaigrette

(Creamy Layered Italian Dessert)

Preparation Notes: This is an easy and delicious menu, most of which can be prepared the day before the event. The potato salad can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. The tiramisu should be prepared, minus the whipped cream frosting, the evening before or in the morning and refrigerated. About one hour before dinner, prepare the peppers and onions. Assemble the spinach salad, minus the tomatoes and dressing, and refrigerate. The sausage can be cooked, added to the pan with the peppers and held on a low burner or in a low oven until serving. (If you know you will be entertaining some vegetarian guests, make extra peppers and place the sausage in a separate pan or wrapped in foil to keep warm. Offer slices of a good Italian cheese, such as provolone, so those who desire can make meatless sandwiches with the peppers and cheese.) Meanwhile, make the whipped cream for the tiramisu, frost and return to the refrigerator. Take the potato salad out of the refrigerator and set at room temperature for about thirty minutes to remove some of the chill. Make the dressing, add the tomatoes to the greens and toss the salad. Put the sub rolls in a basket placed along side of the sausage and peppers. Guests can assemble their own sandwiches as desired. All that is left to do is slice and serve the dessert. With this menu, you can relax and enjoy the event.

Mom's Lasagna with Meatballs and Sausage

Lasagna Recipe Photo

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Italian Recipes.