My mom is a great home cook. Seriously, I was very spoiled to have her cooking for me as I was growing up. She made some American family classics like tuna casserole, we had a Mexican night every now and then, but the go to was pasta or anything else Italian. Sunday dinner was always something special. A couple weeks ago Erin and I were home and my mom had us and Erin's parents over. My grandpa was there too. Whenever there is company, my mom kicks it up a notch.
Her menu started with a great spread of appetizers. There was some sliced pepperoni and sausage, pepperjack cheese and some very good swiss. She also prepared one of her classics: smoked salmon. The salmon is store bought already smoked and laid it over some chopped romaine lettuce. She topped the salmon with finely sliced onion (I think she would have used chives if she had them), capers, salt, pepper, lemon and extra virgin olive oil. I like to eat some of the salmon on some crunchy toast or bread: a great salty, light appetizer. As if this weren't enough for appetizers, my mom also made some classic tomato bruschetta.
For the main course, my mom prepared one of her standards. Penne with garlic and olive oil as a "sauce" cooked with strips of chicken breast, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. She sautes the garlic with olive oil and onion as a base for the sauce. Then she adds capers (one of her favorite ingredients), artichokes and sun dried tomatoes. Once the pasta is nearly cooked, she adds the previously cooked chicken breast, chopped about the same size as the pasta, to the garlic and artichoke mixture. Finally, you mix the pasta with the sauce. She served it with asparagus that was boiled and seasoned with olive oil, salt, and crushed red pepper.
For dessert, Erin's mom made a Giada recipe: panna cotta with fresh berries. It was a nice light dessert, and tasty end to a big, great meal.