Two of my friends approached me on separate occasions wanting to start a dinner club that would bring together different friends every month or two (depending on schedules) for a dinner party. I was excited at first because I love dinner parties but then grew hesitant because most of the time I end up being responsible for organizing activities. I understand this due to my type A personality that expects things to be well thought out and organized. When I got over my own apprehensions, I agreed to do the club.

Each of us invited one friend (or couple) to join the group with the option of one or two guest spots for the host to fill. Whoever hosts also gets to set the tone of the meal and provide the main course with the remaining members filling out the rest of the menu. First to host was my friend Ben and who chose an Italian theme.

My friends Katelin and Andy provided the starters, traditional Italian meals begin with something to nibble on called an antipasto:

Prosciutto wrapped melon


I took on the primo which can be a risotto, a soup, or a pasta. I made Radicchio Risotto which I thought would be light before the main course. The recipe came from a great Italian cuisine blog called The Italian Dish.

Our host Ben took on il secondo which usually consists of chicken, meat, or fish. He made two versions of lasagna.

Lasagna Rolls with Spinach

Traditional Lasagna

The contorno typically accompanies the main course, which are one to two vegetable platters. My friend Steve instead provided a Caesar salad. Salad also is traditionally eaten after the main course.

Remnants of the salad

And of course we ended with the dolce (or sweet) from Caroline:

Mele al forno con gelato (Baked Apple with Ice Cream)

Food for Thought:
-The DC Dinner Club includes: Ben (college friend), Katelin (bestie and former roommate), Andy (friend and Katelin’s fiance), Ben & Anissa (Katelin’s friends from studying abroad in Italy who unfortunately were absent since Anissa is on bed rest due to pregnancy), former colleague Steve, and Ben’s roommates Caroline and Silas. The guest was Ben’s other roommate, Kaylynn.
-I pretty much followed the Italian dish recipe with a few exceptions: After quartering the radicchio and applying the rub, I broiled them just before serving and served on top of the risotto. I also only used 1 teaspoon of kosher salt for the radicchio rub which I would reduce to 1/2 teaspoon because the broiled radicchio was way too salty. Luckily, the risotto masked the salty flavor. I added fresh basil and oregano to the rub which came about to about 2 tablespoons of herbs. I also garnished the risotto with fresh parsley.
-Ben later told me he wished he chose Gulf Coast because that is where he is from but went with Italian because he thought it would be an easier theme.
-The dessert is not traditionally Italian, but something Caroline’s mother has made since she was a little girl. It was delicious and after doing a little research I learned that traditionally dolce will consist of marinated fruit.