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JUN
22
2015
Cristina Sciarra
Weddings
by Guest Blogger Cristina Sciarra


Food Blogger, Cristina Sciarra, from The Roaming Kitchen on creating your ideal Wedding menu.

I doubt this will surprise anyone, but–I cared a lot about the food we served at the wedding. I wanted our guests to enjoy a truly delicious meal–not an easy task when catering to 150 people at once! I also wanted to showcase the season, at the expense of established “wedding food” favorites.

For months, I worked back and forth with Great Performances (Hi, Matt, Maureen and Christina!) until we settled on the menu you see below. All the work was more than worth it–I loved the final product. I’ll never forget it. I wish I could eat these dishes over and over again!

Here are my tips for developing your wedding menu.

1. Don't be afraid to ask! It's your day, and you should feel comfortable making requests, even if it's for something you don't see on the standard list of options. My husband and I wanted two specific wines, and GP was able to find them for us, within the same price range as the wines they normally offer. We also ended up adjusting the beers on offer, to better match our tastes. 

2. It's as important to know what you don't want. Telling our caterer what we didn't want ended up being just as helpful as telling them what we did want. I knew I wanted to steer clear of more "typical" wedding food, which helped us work toward the more seasonal menu we were aiming for. 

3. Braises are your friend. Weddings require readying many plates of hot food, all at the same time. I recommend requesting more forgiving protein preparations--short rib instead of filet mignon, coq au vin instead of chicken breast. 

4. Eat your vegetables. Fish and meat can be expensive. Using (in season) vegetables in creative ways make for beautiful, memorable meals that won't break the bank. Pasta is also a delicious option.

At the wedding, one of my favorite dishes was the Raviolo al Uovo with Spinach, Ricotta and Herbs–a spinach and ricotta filled raviolo floating in a warm bath of Parmesan-mushroom broth, topped with crisp, collard green-ribbons.

In an effort to recreate this dish at home, I made a few changes. My version deviates from the original in style, but it brings the same flavors to the table.

I decided to use fresh bucatini, which I bought at Eataly. If you can find fresh bucatini, spaghetti, linguine, great–an egg-based dough will best mimic the original dish–however, dried pasta works too. In place of the crispy collards, I wilted fresh spinach and basil into the still-hot pasta, tossing the whole lot with salty butter. The result reminds me of what we ate at the wedding, but is simple enough to make on a weeknight.  


Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons thinly ribboned basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 5 cups (1.2 liters) best quality chicken stock
  • 2/3 pound (310 grams) fresh bucatini
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 15 cracks black pepper
  • 1.5 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese 

Method
1. In a small bowl, stir the chopped herbs and the lemon zest into the ricotta cheese.
2. In a medium-sized pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the fresh pasta and peas, and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
3. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large saucepan. Over low heat, toss the pasta with the butter, spinach, basil, black pepper and Parmesan, until the spinach and basil have wilted.
5. Divide the pasta between 4 bowls, and then pour an equal measure of the chicken stock over each. Top the pasta with a spoonful of herbed ricotta.

©Chellise Michael Photography, ©Cristina Sciarra


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