How to Serve an Italian Meal

Everyone wants to be able to go in the kitchen and whip up an excellent dish of some sort, and Italian food is always a popular option. Serving a good Italian meal goes beyond simply preparing the main dish: sides, servings, and wine pairings are all necessary parts of any perfect mail.


  1. Image titled Serve an Italian Meal Step 1
    Plan the meal. Before you begin preparing any Italian meal, figure out how many people you'll be serving. Incorporate any dietary restrictions - for instance, plan to make a smaller, separate dish with gluten free pasta or without meat. Think about how much time you have to prepare the meal, and consider the preferences of the people you'll be serving. Once you have figured these few things out, decide what to make. Choose a main course first, and pick sides and additional courses to go with it.
  2. Image titled Serve an Italian Meal Step 2
    Find the perfect recipe. You can find recipes in cookbooks, online, in your family archives, or from professional chefs or other cooks. Everyone has a different recipe for classic Italian dishes like chicken alfredo, so read many different recipes and reviews before choosing one. As you cook more and more, you'll begin to figure out which sources you trust most - you'll find a favorite cookbook or food blogger. Until this happens, however, try different recipes from different sources that look good, and pick a recipe based on ease of preparation, availability of ingredients, and time required.
    • Also find recipes for sides or other courses like desserts that you want to prepare. You should choose and read through all your recipes before you begin preparing the meal.
  3. Image titled Serve an Italian Meal Step 3
    Make sure you have all necessary ingredients. Shop for fresh vegetables and meats, and use only high-quality ingredients for a fresher, better-tasting meal. Account for ingredients for all dishes you'll be making, and shop for bread and other similar items the day you plan to cook for maximum freshness.
  4. Image titled Serve an Italian Meal Step 4
    Prepare the meal. Take your time cooking to make sure that everything comes out as delicious as it can be. Time your cooking efforts so that everything is done at the same time and can be served nice and hot, right on time for your meal. For less experienced cooks, it can be a good idea to follow the recipe exactly, but if you have a little more experience or specific tastes, feel free to embellish, adding more or different spices and other ingredients to make the recipe taste just as you want it. Make sure to prepare sides, desserts, and any other dishes with as much care as you put into the main course.
  5. Image titled Serve an Italian Meal Step 5
    Serve the courses in order. First, serve a fresh baguette with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a traditional Italian start to the meal. Serve a Caesar salad or other appetizer of your choice. Allow everyone plenty of time to finish each course before you serve the next, and allow your guests to enjoy and converse, rather than simply shoveling food into their mouths. Pair each course with a nice wine, and top off the meal with a fabulous dessert.
  6. Image titled Serve an Italian Meal Step 6
    Plate each serving to make it look as good as it tastes. For a simple family meal, of course, this is not necessary, but if you're serving a fancier meal, plating can make your meal look and taste that much better. Heat the plates and other serving dishes before you put food on them; this will keep the food warmer for longer. Serve each guest an adequate but not exorbitant amount of food - Italian meals often include smaller serving sizes than the average American meal. Arrange the food tastefully on each plate and drizzle with sauce if desired. For desserts, you can even draw patterns or other designs on the plate with the sauce.
  7. Image titled Serve an Italian Meal Step 7
    Choose wine pairings to go with the meal. If you're serving several courses, consider offering a different wine to complement each course. Or simply choose one wine to go with the whole meal. Either way, wine is a classic way to top off any Italian meal, and choosing the perfect wine to serve will delight your guests and perfect the meal.


  • When reading recipes, it might be wise to read the whole thing first, and visualize what you will be doing before starting. This will help you understand each step before you begin.


  • If you serve nice Italian meals for your family, they will want you to do so all the time, so think carefully before you do this.

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Categories: Meal Planning