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The Appetizer: The Official Blog of DiningIn

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The Perfect Italian Family Dinner Night

Italian family dinner, The Sopranos

Family dinner night isn’t always easy to plan – that’s certainly a fact that can’t be disputed. Little Suzie might complain that there’s no dessert with the meal; young Stevie most likely doesn’t want to eat his broccoli; mom and dad might bicker over whether or not mashed potatoes are a legitimate serving of vegetables or whether or not there is any nutritional value to Sunny Delight.

To anyone who’s been forced to plan and/or take part in family dinner nights in the past, these disagreements are aplenty. If you mix those disagreements in with the fact that Italian food is – by far – of the most emotional cuisines you can indulge in, things can start to get really complicated really fast. This is why we want to help you (being restaurant and delivery experts) have the perfect Italian family dinner night, whether you’re looking to do all of the cooking and cleaning yourself or if you’re just looking to have us deliver you the food you crave from the Italian restaurants you love.

Appetizers: Always Try To Go Cold

The whole idea of eating appetizers is to indulge in them in order to stimulate your appetite for the main course. For this reason, despite how great Fried Calamari, Clams Casino and Stuffed Mushrooms are, it’s always better to go for cold appetizers than to go for warm ones. Cold appetizers increase your appetite more, while hot appetizers can bog you and your appetite down and – if they’re too hot – they can entirely slow your digestion process, which has the potential to make you pretty much physically useless after dinner.

One of my favorite cold appetizer options is Chilled Lobster with sides of fresh lemon and cocktail sauce. Of course, fresh lobster is something of a delicacy, and can be a little on the expensive side, but if you’re a seafood lover and it’s within your budget, it’s totally worth it. The only downside is that there’s a small chance that the Chilled Lobster dish might be the most delicious thing you eat during the entire meal (I don’t see anything wrong with that!). If lobster’s out of the question, here’s a cold, reliable, delicious recipe for a Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella Salad from Maggiano’s Little Italy’s blog – The Chef’s Table.

Bruschetta, though served half hot, half cold, is also a solid appetizer option to kick off your family Italian dinner with a bang. If all else fails, serve a cold antipasto – garnished with pickled vegetables and fresh cold cuts – to kick off your Italian feast.

An Interview With Chef Fabio Viviani

Fabio Viviani, interview

If you didn’t stop by the 31st annual MayFair event this past Sunday in Cambridge's Harvard Square, you missed out on the chance to indulge in delicious foods. Even more than that, you missed out on the opportunity to talk to Italian Chef Fabio Viviani, formerly of Bravo’s “Top Chef” show, as well as taste authentic Italian salumi fresh out of the MeatUp Food Truck. Viviani (pictured on the right) earned the “Fan Favorite” title after competing in Season 5 of “Top Chef” – which is probably the best way you could describe him, as he made it back onto “Top Chef All Stars” because everyone loved him so much. He also hosts the #1 lifestyle and food web series on Yahoo! called “Chow Ciao!,” owns and operates restaurants in greater Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, and wrote the New York Times bestselling cookbook, “Fabio’s Italian Kitchen.” I interviewed Fabio over the weekend and discuss his favorite recipe, his favorite cities to eat in in the United States, and more.

Learn Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos' Italian Recipes In "Extra Virgin"

Gabriele Corcos, Debi Mazar, Extra Virgin, Cooking Channel

Debi Mazar & Gabrielle Corcos from "Extra Virgin" (Photo Credit: Food Network)

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