NEW KDHamptons Entertaining Diary: A Taste of Amalfi at Home in the Hamptons

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I created a dramatic Amalfi style setting with four tall bamboo stalks staked in the soil and simply tied a sheer white gauzy fabric to the tops of the bamboo with twine. The billowy effect overhead was so dreamy to sit under…

If you follow me then you know I love to entertain and create traditions, and to close out each high season in the Hamptons I host an intimate dining experience that spoils my guests in every way.  Because many of us have  not been able to travel to favorite destinations due to the pandemic, I decided to transport my guests to the Amalfi coast (almost ha!) with an al fresco poolside luncheon prepared by the charming husband and wife team of Nonna Francesca. Here’s a peek at my table design, menu, and delicious details…

I set a table for eight with my favorite new yellow and white gingham linens from Setting Pretty, a gorgeous new brand out of London. I paired their tablecloth and napkins with my vintage set of blue and white Meissen dinnerware, bamboo serve ware, cobalt blue glasses and my favorite bird shaped champagne flutes which are always a crowd pleaser. For the flowers, I planted simple baby yellow petunias in vintage porcelain urns.

My Meyer Lemon trees are my most coveted beauties of our gardens. Perched poolside they grow their fragrant flowers and gorgeous fruits from May until early October at which point they are carted off  to a local greenhouse to survive the chilly fall temps. There are 45 lemons on just one of my trees!

How cute are my lemon napkin rings by Dani Pessoa?

I invited eight friends including my sister Kim who flew up from Charleston for the weekend, above with Mark Jordan.

I set out a simple wine and champagne bar with this pretty vintage porcelain urn filled with Rhombauer Chardonnay, Mionetto Organic Prosecco, and Mionetto Prosecco Rosé, my favorite bubbly of 2021.
I served Prosecco DOC Organic Extra Dry in my favorite bird shaped flutes!

Roberta and Francesco are the dynamic private chefs behind Nonna Francesca Family, an authentic Italian catering team which took the Hamptons by storm this summer. “Nonna in Italy represents family, friends and sharing so we would like to transmit these warm values in our food. We try to bring on your table the best we can find on the market. We only use fresh and organic vegetables, grass-fed meat, fresh fish and local Burrata cheese, which is produced from an Italian family based in Brooklyn from 40 years,” says Roberta.

Francesco and Roberta taking charge in my kitchen.

Francesco says, “All our recipes are jealousy preserved in a family manuscript that first Nonna Francesca and then my mother upgraded in the years. It is handwritten.” Here is our decadently delicious menu from the day!

“What we like at most is to share the warm spirit of the Italian people. We want to let our guests feel like at grandma’s place, so we try to bring a big smile that is a good friend of great food. This the best way to create a memorable experience that goes beyond the food.”

Focaccia Crostini were served during cocktails with my favorite fresh caught Chilean salmon which gets delivered straight to your front door from OSHEN.  Roberta served it with creme fraiche and capers.

Couchette di Patate
Bocconcini di Melone e Prosciutto di Parma

As always, guests gathered in the kitchen during part of the cocktail hour which was fun to watch Francesco and Roberta preparing their signature dishes including the stuffed zucchini flowers, below.

Stuffing the zucchini flowers.
I Fiori di Zucca is served.

“We use fresh Pasta with Semola di Grano Duro (Semolina Flour) and when we have Spaghetti, we use only Gragnano bronze cut quality, the top one artisanal pasta used in all the greatest Italians restaurant in the world. We also only use extra virgin Olive oil from Puglia, a region in south-east of Italy.”  PSST! The homemade Cacio e Pepe pasta dish was definitely the fan favorite of the luncheon so I scored the recipe for you all, below.

Nonna Francesca Cacio e Pepe recipe

Ingredients: Gragnano Bronze Cut Spaghetti – 1 pound, Pecorino Romano D.O.P. – 1 cup, 1 teaspoon black pepper &  Sea Salt to taste.

Directions:  Throw pasta in the boiling water. In the meantime, ground some black pepper in a pan and let it warm on low. In a bowl put the pecorino cheese and add 2 spoons of boiling water. Melt the pecorino until you obtain a cream. When the pepper starts to crackle add a ladle of boiling water. Move the “Al dente” Pasta in the pan with pepper and add a bit of boiling water to let finish the cooking process. When it is done, add the pecorino cream in the pan and make sure it is well amalgamated with the pasta to create a perfect Cacio e Pepe.

Roberta’s homemade focaccia with three delicious tapenades for the table.
Francesco flambeed the branzino poolside, a culinary show stopper!

Francesco prepares the Tiramisu with espresso as well as the cannoli.

Such a fun and delicious day… Bellissimo!