My husband and I will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary this September. When we tied the knot, a big church ceremony and a huge reception were just not us. We were married in a small outdoor ceremony and then followed it with a small intimate dinner party. It was the most perfect day. We were blessed to have close friends and family there to help us make it a magical day. When thinking of what we could purchase as a gift to show our gratitude to them for celebrating our special day with us, we struggled. The more we thought about it and reminisced about our wedding day it dawned on us that it would be great to in invite our guests over for simple “thank-you dinner” again to celebrate with us.
My husband, who is also a chef, suggested we prepare some simple dishes and serve them family style for our thank-you dinner, since we wanted to be able to relax and enjoy our guests and not be stuck in the kitchen half the night. We came up with a menu that would remind our guests of the delicious food we had on our wedding day. I also thought it would be fun to decorate the table with candles and flowers just as I had done for our reception.
We had an Italian style menu for our wedding reception, so we planned our thank-you dinner menu with an Italian flair. We created our recipes with our vegetarian friends in mind but included ones that would also satisfy the meat eaters too. I started off with a charcuterie tray of mixed olives, cheeses and cured meats, using fresh vegetables as a garnish. Pasta with a homemade fresh vegetable primavera sauce is a dish that can be served at any time of the year and pleases most palates. A dried herb-crusted roast pork tenderloin is a delicious complement to the pasta dish. Next, some lemony sautéed asparagus topped with parmesan. Finally, toasty baguette bread slathered with creamy ricotta and topped with sliced roma tomatoes, fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil. Dinner was a huge success! All of our guests agreed that this was the perfect way to thank them.
We decided that instead of going out to dinner or on a weekend get-away to celebrate our anniversary each year we would invite those same loved ones over and celebrate together. Sending lots of best wishes to all the newlyweds out there. Eat well and be happy!
Ricotta Caprese Bread
Spread sliced bread with a light layer of butter then place them on a baking tray and toast until golden brown in 375 oven. Remove from oven. While bread is still hot, top with ricotta, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil. Right before serving lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Dried Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pork tenderloin on a large baking sheet. Rub with olive oil and coat liberally with dried Italian herb mix and salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and arrange on a nice platter. Drizzle meat with drippings from the baking sheet. Garnish with some fresh Italian parsley.
Lemon And Parmesan Asparagus
On a large baking sheet coat asparagus with oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 6-8 minutes. Promptly remover from oven and top with lemon zest and parmesan. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.
Pasta with Fresh Vegetable Primavera Sauce
Add olive oil to a large sauce pan that is set on medium high heat. Sautee onions until lightly browned. Add garlic and sautee for 1 minute making sure it does not burn. Add zucchini and squash and sauté for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add can of tomatoes with the juice, and fresh basil. Let cook for 20 minutes on low stirring occasionally. Add butter to add a slight creaminess to the sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Serve over your choice of pasta.