Christmas entertaining doesn’t need to be formal, particularly for get-togethers with friends around the festive period. This rustic and cosy Italian-inspired menu is low-stress, and a fabulous feast for 6.
Rosemary grows wild everywhere in Italy, but it’s also a herb that feels very Christmassy. Echo the rosemary theme in the food by adding a few sprigs to your table flower arrangement or – as I’ve done – strewed about the table amongst some candles and festive décor.
Gold chargers, sparkly stars or baubles and lots of candles make the table feel like a real celebration. Offset any sense of formality with unironed linens, tumblers instead of wine glasses and a rustic wooden serving board.
Italian Grazing Board
Robust Italian Red Wine
For the grazing board, artfully drape prosciutto slices across the centre of the board next to a pile of good quality olives, breadsticks stood up in a tall drinking glass, a pile of small chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano and a few decorative sprigs of rosemary.
Unusually I haven’t suggested a vegetable with the stew. But it’s packed full of vegetables, and I love the simplicity of the stew served on its own. You can really appreciate the flavours this way, and rather than potato, who doesn’t love swiping bread across a thick, rich sauce?
Affogato is an easy Italian dessert assembled by pouring a shot of strong hot coffee over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serve the coffee in small espresso cups or shot glasses and allow everyone to combine their own at the table.