Instead of having her rehearsal dinner at a restaurant, my girlfriend Ronda has decided to host it in her parents' backyard. To save money, the event won't be a formal sit-down affair, but rather a casual alfresco cocktail party with heavy appetizers. The easy menu is inspired by Italy.
First set up a huge station with store-bought charcuterie, cheese, olives, and antipasto. Next, give classic Caesar salad a portable makeover by serving on skewers. Ask a family friend to man the grill and cook up an assortment of vegetarian — asparagus and sun dried tomato, zucchini, margherita, and fontina olive — grilled pizzas. Prepare the toppings and dough in advance.
All the griller has to do is assemble and make the pizzas. Once cooked, pass around and offer to guests. To check out these recipes, read more.
1/2 cup mayonnaise Makes 16 skewers. 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), thick ends removed Serves 4. 1 large garlic clove Serves 4. For dough: Makes four 10-inch pizzas. Make Ahead: The pizza dough can be prepared through Step 2 and frozen for up to 1 month.
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
One 2-ounce tin anchovies, drained
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 heart of romaine, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
16 cherry tomatoes
Freshly ground pepper
1 bunch scallions, trimmed
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed), thinly sliced, plus 3 tablespoons oil from jar
1 pound store-bought pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
1 lb pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1 lb zucchini (about 2 large), cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 lb coarsely grated mozzarella (2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups warm water
2 packages dry active yeast
7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
3 tablespoons kosher salt
For olive-fontina topping:
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 pound Italian Fontina cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 cup pitted black Moroccan olives, chopped
For margherita topping:
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 pound mozzarella, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
salt, for sprinkling
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Makes 16 skewers.
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), thick ends removed
1 large garlic clove
Makes four 10-inch pizzas.
Make Ahead: The pizza dough can be prepared through Step 2 and frozen for up to 1 month.