ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Surprise Guests! A Quick Seafood Soup, Salad, and Tablescape- Tuna and White Bean Pasta Salad~ Shrimp and Summer Veggie Bisque

Buon Giovedi Amici!!

Happy Thursday!

I'm running a bit late today- so sorry- but it's the first day of school which brings mass chaos to Casa Bramasole.
And in the midst of teenage angst over what to wear, adolescent boys trying very hard to look "cool" on the middle school bus, realizing that the 350 dollars worth of school supplies I bought doesn't include ANYTHING on the list they got from their teachers (do they even REALIZE that I am being asked to buy THREE scientific calculators at 80 dollars each to hand to 3 kids who get lost on their way up to bed at night) AND the stress of sorting through 4200 square feet of household possessions- I got a call.

Dear, dear friends who we haven't seen in quite some time were driving through town on their way back to VA. "Can we drop by?"

OF COURSE!! Vieni! Vieni!!

Time to dig through the fridge and come up with a quick, light dinner.

They love the beach. Seashells and candles- check!

Shells for crab mousse, starfish for the salad- check!

Raw cut burlap runners over antique knotted lace- check!

Fresh hot bread- check!

I love a table made of natural elements- and so easy!- Check!!

Quick Shrimp and Summer Veggie Bisque- Check!
Served in clamshell bowls- perfect

White Bean and Tuna Pasta Salad- Check! (and YUM!)

Neither one of these are specific recipes- just a blend of simple, fresh ingredients. I'll just tell you what I did today

White Bean and Tuna Pasta Salad

1 pound pipette pasta- cooked, drained, rinsed in cool water, and drained again
3 cans Italian tuna, packed in olive oil (this tuna is SO worth the slightly higher price)
2  cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 small jar capers, drained and rinsed
 red wine vinegar
 fresh ground black pepper
1/2  red onion, very thinly sliced
 2 pints grape tomatoes
OPTIONAL- Italian oil-cured olives (I was all out)

Drain the tuna, saving the olive oil in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, gently mix the tuna,  beans, onions and capers. Squeeze the lemon juice over and toss. Mix all into the cool pasta. In the reserved oil,whisk the red wine vinegar. Pour dressing on the tuna mixture and mix in the  tomatoes. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. I garnished the top with a chiffonade of basil and tarragon

Quick Shrimp Bisque with Vegetables

I made a quick roux by melting 1/2 stick butter and whisking in 1/4 cup flour. Then I whisked in about 1/2 cup red wine and about 1/4 cup tomato paste. Very slowly whisk in 4 cups (a 32 oz box) of seafood stock. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in about 1 cup of cream (or half and half). Set aside. In a separate skillet, I melted abot 3-4 tblsp butter and sauteed 1/2 an onion (VERY finely chopped), 1 stalk celery (sliced very thin), 2 small zucchini, chopped, about a tblsp of thyme leaves, and a handful of very thin asparagus spears (trimmed and cut in 1 inch pieces). Saute till veggies are tender. Throw in about 1/2 pound of grilled or sauteed (cooked) shrimp and stir to warm. Add the veggie shrimp mix to the bisque and warm slowly

Time to Eat!

We're linking up to Tablescape Thursday - Susan's fun party at Between Naps on the Porch
Come and have some fun

Tutti a Tavola!!

See you tomorrow for Foodie Friday at Gollum's- come join us!

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. It looks lovely, Patti! Lucky guests!
    Sounds like hectic times. My dil has 4, but school doesn't start here till after Labor Day.
    I always tried to give a supply list that was very basic, no frills. I knew some had 4 kids to buy for! I gave it out in June so they could space it out over the summer and avoid the mad rush too!

  2. You always manage to amaze me!

  3. Just love your gorgeous table settings with the beautiful dishes, colors and soup tureen. Even in the middle of your move, school days and everyday living you managed a table and food spread to rival all the rest! God bless your hands! I use roux and bechamel sauces in Greek cooking as well.I can't eat seafood any more but can look! Thank you again for such elegance and gracious living ideas. Emelia.

  4. You are AMAZING... selling your house, out of town going to school...making amazing meals....and you STILL have time to BLOG! What am I doing wrong???

  5. Your table is beautiful, Pattie. And what a wonderful dinner for your lucky guests. I don't know how you do it. All that on top of school starting. Amazing.

  6. Such a wonderful, welcoming table and meal-I'm sure you all enjoyed it!

  7. This is beautiful! You guys always do such a nice job!

  8. LOVE those shell dishes and bowls. Perfect for a summer supper. Your table is beeaauutiful!!!

  9. What a gracious hostess you are. I love how you just threw together such a wonderful impromptu feast!


    PS - I had to laugh at school supply comments - soooo true! Btw, we're buying our 4th TI-whatever stupid calculator. The nerve of such prices.

  10. Nice feast - looks yummy! You can't beat seashells.

    Some news: We're staring a Giveaway Friday! link-up party this Fri. 8/27 plus we are giving away custom backsplash! Hope you'll join us.


  11. Oh my gosh, I am amazed! I could never begin to do that without about three days notice, lol!! Beautiful table! I love the burlap/lace combination. The menu looks great too!!! We have not gotten to the calculator stage yet.

  12. Pattie, Your table looks lovely! The food looks great too. You're one busy lady, and I don't know how you do it all, Pattie. Do you sleep? lol
    Best wishes, Beth

  13. Thanks for sharing your yummy recipes! And I love the sea shells around the candles..very pretty! :D

  14. Truly a hostess with the mostest...I can hardly wait to try the Shrimp Bisque. Thank you for sharing your charming design. Cherry Kay

  15. What lucky guests! You whipped up a veritable feast for them and presented it fabulously!! Love your tablescape!! xxoo

  16. Wow! How impressive that you pulled together a beautiful table and dinner on short notice right smack in the middle of the start of school. You obviously have the gift of hospitality.

  17. Your ability to "throw" together a beautiful meal is phenomenal! It all looks gorgeous.

  18. I wish I could come up with a meal for guests as fast as you do, looks delicious.


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