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Italian food on a dinner party table

How to Organize the Perfect Italian Dinner Party in New Jersey

Are you a Jersey local looking to organize the most magical Italian dinner party NJ has ever seen? Not everyone has the skills needed to be a master chef. However, there’s no reason not to set your standards high and try to impress your friends. Also, don’t think simply putting a plate of pasta on the table or placing a frozen pizza in the oven makes your dinner Italian. You mightn’t know how to cook lobster Italian-style, but it’s not like you can’t amaze your guests with something else. Anyway, in this article, we’ll show you how you’ll organize the perfect Italian dinner party in New Jersey. 

#1 The setting

First of all, let’s consider how your dinner table should look. People say that the foundation of a perfect Italian dinner owes much to how you’ve arranged the table. Therefore, you’ll want to pay attention to this piece of advice. Here’s the thing: you’ll need to set the table so that the wine, the still and sparking water are already there, facing your guests. Also, the empty plates should already be on the table before any of the guests arrive. The middle of your Italian dinner table should be clear to make room for all the large plates of food you’ll introduce to your guests. What about the seating? Well, of course, couples should be seated next to each other, and warring relatives (every family has a few difficult cousins) should be “placed” at the opposite sides of the table, if possible.


Also, speaking of guests, if you have recently moved to New Jersey, you can use an Italian dinner party as an excuse to get to know your neighbors since inviting people over for dinner is a great way to meet new people. People naturally bond over food, which can be a wonderful way to introduce yourself to the community.


A row of empty dinner plates
Arrange the dinner setting restaurant-style!

#2 Once the first guests arrive at the scene…

We can cut this paragraph into two bits. 


As you’re probably aware, there isn’t an Italian-style dinner that can go without the so-called aperitivo. It typically consists of a small bite and drinks that are supposed to stimulate your dinner guests’ appetite. However, it would be best if you remembered that aperitivo is much more than simply an opener. You can think of it as more of a ritual since having an aperitif is a nurtured in Italian tradition for as long as folks can remember. The whole story about aperitivo is that it teaches us the importance of noticing life’s little pleasures, a mindset that contrasts with how our contemporary society functions. In a way, it’s a meditation on how life’s supposed to be lived. Before we get too romantic, let’s consider the other segment. 


Okay, so what’s l’antipasto? Translated into English, this Italian term mostly resembles “nibbles.” So, what kind of nibbles should you serve if you want to organize the perfect Italian dinner party in New Jersey? We’re talking about the essentials: cured meats and hams, better known as salumi, grissini, cheese & olives combo, and, of course, bread. You’ll want to place the antipasti on wooden chopping boards to make the scene more authentic. Also, ensure to include little bowls filled with olive oil and parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Speaking of the latter, you might want to impress your guests with your knowledge of Italian cuisine by sharing the story of how mozzarella cheese came to be

#3 Let’s raise a toast

All this talk about food almost made us forget one of the most important elements – wine. To organize the perfect Italian dinner party in New Jersey, you should complement each of your meals with some fine wine (and here’s where you’ll find all the info you need about it). As if anyone needed to tell you that one, right? Anyway, here’s something of a general rule: if you’re serving red meat, opt for red wine; if you’re serving chicken or fish, you’ll want to go for white wine. Scan your local Jersey wine shops for some Tuscan wine. Trust us; there’s no way you’ll regret it since the right choice of wine can make your dinner truly memorable. 

A group of friends raising a toast at a dinner party.
You can't go wrong with Tuscan wine!

#4 Her Majesty, the food

Since there’s a lot of info here we’d like to mention, let’s cut this one into segments, too. 

Since there’s a lot of info here we’d like to mention, let’s cut this one into segments, too. 


Il primo

Did you know that pasta isn’t something you’d call the main dish in Italy? It’s usually a started dish known as “il primo.” Anyway, suppose you’re on the lookout for something that’s light & ideal for the summer months (we can’t imagine a perfect Italian-style dinner in other conditions). In that case, we recommend you opt for some mouth-watering ravioli with truffle butter. 


Il secondo

Now we’re talking! The typical main dish in Italy consists of either meat or fish. Here’s our suggestion: roast lamb or chicken seasoned subtly with fresh rosemary, and thyme never goes out of style. Also, remember that a large piece of grilled fish dipped in olive oil is pretty well-known to put a smile on the face of all dinner guests. 


I contorni

What about the siding? Know that the usual contorni consisted of the vegetables & roast potatoes combo. You can’t go wrong with that. 



A salad made from leafy greens and some top-quality olive oil, with a bit of salt & pepper, is the way to go. Keep the salad simple to act as a counterweight to the other dishes. 


Il dolce

If there’s some free room left inside your dinner guests’ stomachs, you’ll want to crown the feast with some nice dessert. Even if there’s no space left, your guests will count on it. Anyway, we’ll be free to suggest you might want to opt for some tiramisu. How does that sound?

Tiramisu cake on a plate.
Crown your dinner party with some tiramisu!

#5 Anyone up for some coffee?

We’ll be pretty short here. So, how does one prevent guests from going into a food-induced coma? It’s pretty straightforward – remember to serve some coffee once all the food is removed from the table. Your guests surely won’t say no to an Italian-style espresso

The bottom line

This was a complete, step-by-step guide on how to organize the perfect Italian dinner party in New Jersey (or just about anywhere). We’re sure that none of your guests will leave your feast on an empty stomach, dissatisfied with how you’ve arranged things. We can’t help but think your dinner party will be one of those evenings that your friends and family will talk about for months.