Foodie Friday | Homemade Italian Birthday Dinner Recipes

December 02, 2016

Did I mention that it was my birthday? I think I've milked it almost enough now, but before it's completely forgotten to he chaos of Christmas prep, I thought I'd share some of the tasty dishes that I served up as part of my birthday meal. The whole Johnston team pulled together to make my 21st birthday a really special day, and each of us contributed little bits to the meal, while my brother pulled the reigns over all of us. Trying to echo the meals that I've tasted over the summers I've spent in Italy, the day took on an italian theme. While Italian flags were strung across the hall, and balloons stuck to the roof, I sat under fairy lights with my family and tucked into lots of goodies.


Caprese Salad

  • Mozzarella
  • Big tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Olive oil

  1. Slice the mozzarella and tomatoes into thin, equal slices
  2. Place on a plate in alternating order
  3. Sprinkle shredded basil, and drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes and mozzarella


  • Tomatoes 
  • Garlic 
  • Basil
  • Long baguette

  1. Cut the tomatoes up into small squares, and mix with shredded basil
  2. Toast the cut up baguette under the grill
  3. Rub garlic onto the toasted bread pieces
  4. Assemble by placing a spoonful of the tomatoes & basil onto the bread


Tomato Penne Pasta

  • Big (fresh) tomatoes
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tomato purée
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Sugar
  • Oregano
  • Penne pasta

  1. Roast a tray of halved tomatoes on a roasting tray for 2-3 hours
  2. Once cooled, peel the skins off the tomatoes and set aside the bowl of tomatoes
  3. Slowly heat the cut up onions, making sure not to carmalise them, once they have reduced add a couple of cloves of garlic (cut up small) 
  4. Add a spoonfull of tomato purée and mix with a spoonful of oregano
  5. Add the bowl of roasted tomatoes, and let the mixture heat slowly
  6. Once heated (but not boiling) add a tin of tinned tomatoes and a spoonfull of sugar to sweeten 
  7. Boil pasta then mix the sauce into the drained penne

Green Pesto Pasta

  • Courgette
  • Pancetta 
  • Small cherry tomatoes (halved) 
  • Jar of Green pesto 
  • Mozarella
  • Spaghetti ( or pasta of your choice ) 

  1. Fry the pancetta in a pan
  2. Once fried, take the pancetta out and fry the courgette in the same pan
  3. Add the tomatoes 5 minutes before the courgettes are done
  4. At the same time boil the pasta & drain when cooked
  5. Add the courgettes, tomatoes and pancetta into the pan with the pasta. Add a few heaped spoonfuls of pesto and mix together. 
  6. Add small mozzarella balls, or cut up one large ball and mix through the pasta
  7. Leave for 10 mins for dish to heat through - careful to keep mixing to stop it from sticking - then serve

All the dishes that we made were fairly simple, and easy to make - to save anyone from spending too much time in the kitchen on the day. Alongside these dishes were some roasted peppers, cold meats and olives. And everything was served with many a glass of vino - just to keep things nice and authentic! 


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