On the first night of the dinner parties, one of my guests couldn't eat wheat because he suffers from celiac disease, which is an inherited autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and oats.
Pasta was clearly out of the question and, to complicate matters, his wife is vegan. My husband, Tony, and I basically eat anything at the end of a spoon or fork with no problem, so I had to rethink the whole dinner to accommodate our friends' dietary needs.
I started the meal with a wild arugula salad with toasted walnuts and walnut shallot vinaigrette.
For the entrée, I served a beautiful bowl of spaghetti squash with a fresh savory Roma tomato sauce and garnished it with fresh basil—safe enough. I roasted the squash in the oven until it was tender but not overdone, just to make sure the strands of squash were al dente, like when you serve real-deal pasta noodles. You would be surprised how wonderfully delicious and satisfying the squash is! Grate on plenty of fresh Parmesan, and you don't miss the pasta at all.
For dessert, I made a warm and crunchy berry-coconut crisp topped with a crumbly coconut topping, totally gluten-free. All in all, it was a wonderfully thought-out and super-delicious meal that we all enjoyed!
Learn how Cristina made an Italian meal for a guest who could not eat garlic or onions.