Four fresh, Italian recipes for a casual dinner party

Best friends don't let best friends cook on their birthday. Celebrate with these delicious, summery recipes

caprese bites, appetizers, recipe

Best friends don’t let best friends cook on their birthday. Mine was last Friday and to celebrate, my BFF Amanda hosted a dinner party at her lovely home.

When I arrived, I poured us some glasses of rosé, rolled up my sleeves and got ready to work—but once I’d finished rolling out the pizza dough, Amanda booted me out of the kitchen. I protested at first, but knowing her great culinary skills, it wasn’t too hard to relax and let her take over.

Here’s how Amanda put it all together for a fresh, summery Italian meal:

Prosciutto salad rolls: “These were surprisingly easy and quick to make. We used spinach instead of mesclun greens and to my surprise, my veggie-hating husband, Alex, loved them. I made the yield, but cut them in halves to serve more, and it was a good thing I did—they disappeared within minutes.”


Caprese salad bites: “These were super easy, too. We don’t have a food processor, but making the pesto was no problem; it just took a bit of elbow grease! I used mini bocconcini cut into quarters instead of mini-mini bocconcini. These were a huge hit, too. Good thing we all enjoyed them together—the garlic packs a punch.”


Grilled margherita pizza with prosciutto
: “I used the Perfect Pizza Dough recipe for this yummy recipe and it turned out great. We skipped the mozzarella and put rounds of goat cheese right on top of the sauce. The mint was a refreshing counterpart to the rich cheese and prosciutto. Grilling the pizzas on the BBQ was simple and it gave us a great excuse to sip our wine on the patio while we waited. Next time, though, I’ll bake them for a softer crust.”

Chocolate cake with mocha frosting: “This velvety, rich cake was absolutely delicious. When it was served, Lora and our friend Cryss both announced they wanted to live in it. The cake was very moist, which made it a little difficult to assemble, but I just went with it and covered up the flaws with the thick, decadent icing. I will be making this one again for sure!”

Seriously—best friend ever!