A Sunday Red Sauce Dinner Party (on a Weeknight)

April 29, 2013

Now that Food52's Editorial Assistant Brette Warshaw has stocked her First Kitchen, she's ready to throw parties in it: no-stress weeknight parties for anyone, anytime, and (almost) every kitchen. You're invited.

Today: A tradition to make the weekend last a little bit longer, with a step-by-step plan.

Simple Bolognese

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I come from a family of conservative, Eastern European Jews. One grandmother's specialty is homemade gefilte fish; the other's is brisket. 

We did not have Sunday Suppers.

There were no vats of red sauce on my stove, bubbling down until thick and sweet; no breaded meats with parmesan, no meatballs. There was laughter and wine and full, aching stomachs -- but not the sauce-stained, big-hand-movements, pasta-and-pork fests that, after living in Italy, I felt sad that I missed.

So I've created a new tradition: Monday Supper. It's the weeknight-friendly dinner party that makes a Monday night feel like a Sunday -- the kind of dinner that makes friends want to linger, to laugh, to drink lots of cheap red wine. Because who doesn't want to make the weekend last a little bit longer?

The Menu

Toasts rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil
Make Your Own Avocado Caesar
Simple Bolognese + rigatoni
Roasted Bagna Cauda Broccoli

As soon as you get home from work (or over the weekend, if you can): Get your bolognese rolling on the stove. Happily, it's only four ingredients, so you can get it cooking down in no time. (If you do make it over the weekend, stick it in the fridge and get it nice and hot before serving.)

While the sauce is cooking: Floret your broccoli. Toast your almonds, and make your croutons. Whisk up the Caesar dressing, and stick it in the fridge.

More: How to Floret Broccoli and Cauliflower, the Un-Messy Way

Avocado Ceasar

Right before your guests arrive: Make the anchovy sauce for your broccoli, and keep it on the stove. Toast your bread, rub with a clove of garlic, douse it with olive oil and shower with salt. The garlic bread is ready!

When your guests start coming in: Pour everyone a glass of red wine. Stick your broccoli in the oven. Start boiling the pasta water. Toss the salad.

Bagna Cauda Broccoli

Dinner is served: Toss the pasta in its sauce, garnish the broccoli, and parade it out to the table with a grin.

When everyone's too full to move: Sneak into the kitchen and make the affogatos. Serve with fennel biscotti, if you're an over-achiever -- or just pour yourself another glass of wine. You deserve it.


Read More:
10 Classic Italian Pastas
Sunday Pork Ragu
15 Frozen Desserts

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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  • AntoniaJames
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Brette Warshaw

Written by: Brette Warshaw

I'm a reader, eater, culinary thrill-seeker, and food nerd.


nanw. May 7, 2013
5 stars all the way
AntoniaJames April 29, 2013
Love this. Great, great party menu! Ah, to be young or otherwise able to spend Monday nights laughing and drinking wine until late . . . . . ;o) P.S. Making the sauce the day before is non-negotiable, as far as I'm concerned. You don't have to simmer it for hours, but you do need to let it sit overnight!
inpatskitchen April 30, 2013
I'm so with you AJ!