Pure & Simple: Fabio Viviani’s Guide to Creating a Awards-Viewing Party Menu

Awards season has officially arrived, and you know what that means — it’s time for the annual rotation of awards-viewing parties. Whether you happen to be a guest for your neighbors’ Golden Globes potluck (Jan. 10) or you’re hosting friends in your media room for the Oscars (Feb. 28), it’s time to do something different with your party menu this year. We turned to “Top Chef” extraordinaire Fabio Viviani for some refreshing ideas on awards-viewing party dishes.

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If you were hosting an awards-viewing party at home, what would your menu look like?

I would have a lot of finger foods — nothing that requires taking your eyes off the TV! Forget big, showy dishes like lasagna. With dishes like that, you need to look down at your plate to make sure you’re not making a mess in your lap. For a simple appetizer, I’d go with a crostini with burrata and prosciutto. If you want something more elaborate, maybe tuna tartare on a piece of cracker. I also like small meatballs on a skewer or maybe a cherry tomato and cheese on a stick.

Do you have a simple go-to dish for the dreaded potluck party? You know…something tasty, but easy to transport. 

For a cold dish, I would bring an al dente pasta salad with meatballs cut in half. For a hot dish, I would bring braised short rib mac and cheese.

And for the guest who is always dieting and doing her best to look red-carpet ready? Anything on the lighter side?

The key to eating lighter is moderation. You can still eat pasta. Cook the dish you love, and if you must, cut back on the salt. You can add spices and herbs packed with flavor without the calories. For me personally, though, I would rather have a good meal than eat like a goat for three weeks!

What’s the ultimate crowd-pleasing pasta dish in your house?

In my house, I can make fresh pasta in three minutes. All I need to do is crack four eggs, and add 12 to 13 ounces of flour and a pinch of salt and pepper to create the dough. Then I roll it out and press it with my thumb to make orecchiette pasta, which is one of the quickest pastas. From the moment I crack the egg to the moment I plate, it’s 15 minutes. I like to add mushroom and pork to my pastas. Another favorite is fettuccine with roasted mushroom, veal broth and Grana Padano cheese. For a simple appetizer, I’ll set out a plate of cheese and prosciutto San Daniele. You must have that. It’s a little milder than prosciutto di Parma, which is more common. It’s great for snacking.

You’ve partnered with Bertolli Olive Oil to inspire consumers in the kitchen. Do you have a recipe from your Let’s Cook! app with Bertolli that would be suitable for an awards-viewing party?

Well, my personal favorites from the app are the Caprese Salad with Zucchini and Pork Chop with Apple Salad, but those aren’t necessarily suitable for a viewing party. The Squash Flapjacks with Basil Cream are a great choice.

Click Here for recipes and more from “Fabio’s American Home Kitchen” by Fabio Viviani.