A Vegetarian Italian Dinner Party

In the depths of winter, a hearty Italian meal with long-simmered sauces, fall-apart tender braises, and rich wines is just about the best thing there is. But now that there's a ripple of warm in the air, we're ready for something lighter and fresher. Enter our Vegetarian Italian dinner party menu, a multifaceted meal that features some of the best the cucina has to offer: Sicilian sweet-sour eggplant caponata, Florentine zabaglione, and the decidedly Italian-American Pasta Primavera, invented at New York restaurant Le Cirque in the 1970s. Add some creamy, savory goat cheese and a bright citrus-fennel salad, pair with a bottle of fantastic Sicilian wine, and enjoy!

When baked, these marinated cheeses are great spread on crusty bread or served with a tart, rustic salad. The marinade can be reused or whisked into a vinaigrette.

This classic sweet and sour eggplant dish is rich and sweetened with caramelized onions and raisins. This recipe appeared in our March 2011 issue as a part of our special feature, Soul of Sicily.

In Sicily, this salad is traditionally prepared with wild chicory, a slightly peppery, tender-leafed green. Substitute with arugula if you can't find wild chicory.

Sirio Maccioni, the well-known restaurateur of Le Cirque fame, has been acknowledged for creating this dish.

In Italian, sbaglione means big mistake. This popular dessert may have been "mistakenly" invented, probably in Florence—though it is usually made with marsala, the famous sweet wine of Sicily.

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