“A Night In Tuscany” Dinner Party… The Essentials + Recipes

Tuscan Dinner Party

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I am dedicating this post to my incredibly loving mother who is in my opinion an exceptional host and entertainer. I have been fortunate enough to observe her throughout the years, and her taste, execution and grace make her a natural in the hospitality department. A few weekends ago she hosted some lovely ladies for “a night in Tuscany” in the backyard. The tablescape pictured above included an olive tree as the centerpiece surrounded by candles, sunflowers and fresh rosemary from her herb garden. The menu included an antipasto station, truffle reggiano greens, eggplant parmesan and of course lots of vino. I owe all of my domestication to her and continue to be inspired by her daily — she is the cutest! Below you will find a few more snap shots from the al fresco evening + links to purchase similar items pictured + recipes from the party. A night in Italy doesn’t have to be a plane flight away… bring the tastes of Tuscany to your home.

links to similar items pictured above: olive tree | striped cushions for less | striped cushions for more | amber goblets | woven winery jugs

Here is a shot of her antipasto station // Antipasto (plural antipasti) means “before the meal” and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian lunch or dinner. Traditional antipasto includes cured meats, olives, peperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses (such as provolone or mozzarella), pickled meats, and vegetables in oil or vinegar. 

photo 4

She used a pizza board as the base and layered appetizers on top — always try to add different height levels as well… the pita chips are actually in a wicker cake stand with a olive motif cloth napkin.

Antipasto menu: herb garden hummus (click for recipe) | light & dark red grapes | sopressata & salami | assorted olives | bread sticks & pita chips | scattered basil & rosemary | adjacent to this and not pictured was a bar with various wines and prosecco

links to similar items pictured above: wooden pizza board | wicker cake stand | olive boat | mini topiary tree | tiered votive holder

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In the kitchen was a beautiful and simple flower arrangement of sunflowers at the base with pretty pops of purple; the dinner display surrounded this on the kitchen island… and hanging above is her ever growing copper pot collection…

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To start building your own copper collection click here for a suspended pot rack and here for copper cookware. I received this as a wedding gift and use it all.of.the.time… love it!Snip20140511_62Click the photo to purchase.

The dinner consisted of a delicious truffle reggiano salad and eggplant parmesan with toasted garlic baguettes.

Truffle Reggiano Salad – serves 8

  • combine the following ingredients in a large salad bowl
  • two bags of prewashed spinach leaves – tear them into smaller pieces
  • scatter thinly sliced red onion
  • two diced avocados
  • half of a small container of shaved parmesan reggiano
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • cracked sea salt and black pepper

Martha Stewart’s Baked Eggplant Parmesan


  • Olive oil, for baking sheets
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large eggplants (2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 6 cups (48 ounces) store-bought chunky tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • fresh basil for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.

Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.

Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil springs. It should look similar to this..

photo 1


My mom added a little condiments station as well… butter, salt, pepper (personalized wine bottle pepper mill – this makes a great hostess, birthday or shower gift), dried oregano, and of course extra parmesan cheese.

photo 4

And after dinner they continued to sip on wine, chat and have a fun evening in the backyard… check out Restoration Hardware for similar outdoor furniture if you are ready to turn your patio into a new entertaining spot.

photo 3

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day & happy entertaining!




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