There’s something special about entertaining over the summer (hey, September included!): Every nice night and long weekend can be used as an excuse to get groups of family and friends together to bask in the beautiful weather and bond over a shared meal. And no matter if it’s a small intimate brunch or a large, buffet style day-long party, there needs to be food—and a lot of it.
When I was in Italy celebrating Giovanni Rana pasta’s debut in the United States, I ate a lot of pasta. Like, a lot, a lot. Pasta is clearly a family affair for the Rana family (it is a family business after all). After a few days, I started to see that though they have a special love for traditional dishes, there was also an emphasis on unexpected flavor combinations and new recipes. In other words, they aren’t afraid to experiment.
So in the spirit of celebrating the rest of summer with your loved ones, over a shared dish of pasta, Giovanni Rana’s daughter-in-law Antonella Paterno-Rana styled three tables with a corresponding pasta dish to match the theme. Don’t worry there, are some summer linens and florals, too.
Perfect For: An Al Fresco Family Dinner
I have three words for this dish: Yum, yum, and YUM. Treat your family to this rich, savory pasta dish made with Giovanni Rana Sausage Ravioli, olive oil, Italian sausage, and kale. For an intimate family gathering, feel free to keep your linens and dishware simple and neutral. (That way, the focus will be all on the food!) It only takes 15 minutes to prepare this dish for three people, so it’s a great starter dish for novice cooks looking to impress the parents.
One 10-ounce package Giovanni Rana Sausage Ravioli
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 fresh red hot chilly pepper thinly sliced
10 oz Italian sausage casings removed
2 packed cups de-stemmed and chopped kale
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large stockpot full of generously salted water. Add the kale, boil it for 3 to 4 minutes, and drain, making sure to keep the water to cook the ravioli.
In a large skillet heat olive oil, sliced red hot chilly pepper, and crushed garlic clove. After a couple of minutes add the Italian sausage and sauté over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, breaking the sausage up with a spoon into bite-sized pieces while cooking. When the sausage has browned, add in and the kale and sauté for 1-2 additional minutes.
In the meantime, cook the ravioli according to package instructions and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add the ravioli to the skillet and gently toss to combine, adding some pasta water to achieve your desired consistency. Serve immediately!
Perfect For: Sunday Brunch
If you think pasta is reserved solely for dinner, you need to take a long hard look in the mirror and creatively consider pasta for breakfast. The basis of this dish is adding Cheese Lovers Tortelloni to your typical breakfast toast or sandwich, whatever that may be for you, in lieu of cheese. Talk about #brunchgoals. Eat this, then tell me if you’re still thinking about your regular avocado toast you eat every weekend.
Style your dish with light yellow linens, cheery, brunch-appropriate tableware, and a pop of pastel colored florals. This easy recipe takes just 20 minutes and serves four.
One 10-ounce package Giovanni Rana Cheese Lovers Tortelloni
4 slices spelt bread, toasted
4 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 small hard boiled eggs chopped
12 slices of bacon
4 thyme sprigs
4 oz canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper and lay your bacon out on the pan in a single layer. Bake your bacon at 375° for 18 to 20 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of crispness. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.
While bacon is cooking heat a large stockpot full of generously salted water and cook the tortelloni according to package directions until al dente. Next, drain and season with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Spread mustard on your bread slices, garnish each slice with 3 slices of bacon, some tortelloni and a spoonful of red kidney beans. (This is where you can get creative! Adding whatever toppings you’re looking to try this weekend.)
Sprinkle with thyme leaves and chopped hard boiled eggs. Season with salt and pepper and serve!
Perfect For: A Family Party
There’s no denying summer’s delicacy is lobster. But if you’re entertaining a big group, especially around a holiday or celebration, fresh lobster for all might not be in the cards. Ditch your regular pasta salad in favor of this delicious Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli served with some fresh lobster and asparagus.
For your table, bring in some fun, on-trend pink linens and plates. Add two types of florals—one lighter than your table, and one darker—to bring some more color to the festivities. To serve two, this medium-difficulty meal only takes 15 minutes to prepare. If you’re planning on serving a big group, leave some more time to prepare the lobster and asparagus or prep ahead for effortless entertaining day-of.
One 9-ounce package Giovanni Rana Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli
3 – 8 oz lobster tails (fresh or frozen)
1 lb thin asparagus
½ cup butter
2 tbsp Brandy
Salt and pepper
If you are using frozen tails be sure they are completely thawed out before cooking them. Steam the lobster tails for 5 - 6 minutes. Transfer the tails to a plate and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle remove the tail meat from the shells in one piece and set aside. Slice one of the 3 tails.
In a pot large enough to accommodate the ravioli, bring salted water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile wash your asparagus thoroughly. Cut off and discard tough woody ends before cutting off and keeping asparagus tips and slice remaining asparagus on diagonal segments. Add your asparagus to the pot and cook until tender crisp, about 3 - 4 minutes. Using a mesh scoop, transfer to a sieve and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
Cook ravioli in the same water according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet, add lobster tails and slices, season with salt and pepper, stir in the Brandy and your asparagus. Drain the ravioli, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add the ravioli to the skillet and gently toss to combine, adding some pasta water to achieve your desired consistency. Sprinkle with chives and serve, garnishing each plate with one lobster tail.
Photography by: Beatrice Pilotto
Food styling by: Antonella Paterno-Rana
More ways to make the most of what’s left of summer:
The Best Make-Ahead Side Dishes For an End of Summer BBQ
One Tabletop, Two Ways: Matte Black and Metallic
13 Items That'll Help You Savor the Rest of Summer