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The menu, the service, the seating

If it’s a dinner with a few close friends and you also know your guests’ tastes, then it’s all quite simple. If the hostess is doing everything herself then she should organise things so as to reduce the number of times she will have to absent herself from the table and think out a menu that can, at least partially, be prepared beforehand. In the summer it’s easier: with a cold dinner you can prepare everything beforehand.

In the other seasons however you’ll need at least one dish that can easily be kept hot in the oven until the last moment, avoiding dishes that need to be prepared on the spot and require lengthy periods in the kitchen. Three courses will be more than enough.

When the guests arrive you can serve the aperitif, a good, chilled, white wine with olives, almonds, savoury snacks, lightly toasted bread with slices of salami.

As a first course you can serve a risotto ( which you can finish cooking while the guests drink their aperitif), or vol-au-vents with fondue or a vegetable quiche.

The second course could be a roast, a stuffed rump of turkey, a "cima alla genovese. Poached fish served with mayonnaise would also be suitable.

Alternatively you could adopt the idea of an all-in-one dish (polenta with game, fish soup…….). To finish a simple pudding or just some fruit.

    

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