sit down for
A YEAR OF SUNDAY DINNERS
by VINNY DELGIUDICE

sit down for

A YEAR OF SUNDAY DINNERS

WITH VINNY DELGIUDICE

Growing up in an Italian household, Sunday Dinners were not optional. Sunday was a family day in our house. But the best part about it was that anyone was welcome to join us. Friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents always sat with us at the dinner table on Sunday evenings.

Whether it was big summer grillouts or Sunday sauce with meatballs and sausage the whole family sat around the table for hours, ate, drank, and ate some more. In this series, we’re going to learn how to make some of these classic Italian Sunday dishes. So prepare your family for some delicious meals and get everyone around the table for a Sunday meal that will have them salivating. Welcome to the Family!



ABOUT VINNY

Vinny is a recipe developer and food photographer. His blog, Always From Scratch, offers a wide variety of pasta, soups, Italian classics, and more. On his profile page here, you will find a variety of delicious recipes from Creamy Sausage and Potato Soup to Italian Chicken Thighs.


Selefina invites you to enjoy this series by Vinny DelGiudice of Always from Scratch. Whether you're new to the experience of Italian-American Sunday dinners or grew up savoring pasta and gravy, we think you'll appreciate Vinny's classic recipes and the stories of inspiration behind them. Plus, we're privy to the dishes he has planned, trust us, we've been drooling in anticipation. All photography on this page is ©Vinny DelGiudice.



spring/summer
GRILLED ZUCCHINI + SQUASH ALLA SCAPECE
A SUNDAY DINNER SIDE DISH
Grilled Zucchini and Squash Alla Scapece w Mint Marinade
SUNDAY DINNER DISHES
Vegetables can sort of be an afterthought for most meals, especially when food is being cooked on the grill. It can sometimes feel like the meat is the only thing anyone cares about.

You can genuinely surprise people when you cook them a delicious vegetable side dish. This classic Italian dish will shock everyone at the table. The minty garlicky flavor is so incredibly unique and flavorful. Try this at your next barbecue and your family will never forget it.

Spring/Summer Table - Side Dish
THE FAMILY
Zucchini and squash were the ONLY vegetables we ate all summer. My dad would always have a tomato salad on the table, but I don't think we can count that as a vegetable. Zucchini was a constant though because my mom grew it in the garden, so we always had way too much of it.

Typically, our go-to recipe would be to wrap them in aluminum foil with olive oil and spices but occasionally we would have these delicious, marinated zucchini chips with fresh mint. It was always a special occasion when my parents made alla scapece because it can be quite a bit of work individually flip each zucchini and squash slice. Of course, a couple would drop through the grates. I can still hear my dad yelling a few choice words when they would fall through.

But one thing about this dish is that there would never be a single piece of zucchini left when we made it his way. The crunchy little chips soaked in olive oil, garlic, mint and lemon were addicting. They were always the perfect addition to steaks or chicken thighs.

THE METHOD
The classic way to make zucchini alla scapece is to fry the zucchini but I swear by grilling them. They get so much crunchier, and the flavor is way more intense. In the summer, I can make a huge batch of these all at one time on the grill instead of trying to fit them in a frying pan.

The key to this recipe is how you slice the zucchini and squash. If you cut them any thicker than half an inch, they will come out chewy and soggy. Slice them less than half an inch and you'll get these charred crunchy little chips. The heat from the grill will cook most of the liquid out of them leaving you with the perfect texture.

First, I lay them out and drizzle one side of the slices with olive oil and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. I preheat the grill to high and then I toss them on. In the meantime, I whisk together the marinade. Once I grill both sides of the zucchini, I toss them in the marinade and serve them.

THE SPICES
The two most important flavors are the Italian seasoning and the fresh mint. A great Italian seasoning flavors the marinade, and the mint gives the zucchini a great finish flavor.

THE FULL RECIPE
A light and fresh vegetable side dish. This Italian dish combines light and crispy zucchini and squash medallions with a garlic mint marinade for a side dish that will guarantee no leftovers.

a sunday dinner recipe using:
by Vinny DelGiudice
Squash and Zucchini Alla Scapece Ingredients
Zucchini and Squash sliced to less than half an inch pieces, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper
Charred zucchini chips


spring/summer
CHICKEN SPIEDINI
A SUNDAY DINNER SIDE DISH
Chicken Spiedini (Italian Chicken Skewers)
SUNDAY DINNER DISHES
Chicken Spiedini is not your run of the mill Italian Dinner. Count yourself lucky if you see it on the menu of a restaurant because it's just not made often. This version of spiedini is made with tender chicken thighs marinated in lemon, garlic, and olive oil coated in seasoned breadcrumbs with parmigiana and perfectly charred on the grill.

If you want to imagine what this is going to taste like, think about crispy chicken cutlets but with the tenderness of chicken thighs. The best part is, since its grilled instead of fried, it's not too greasy.

Spring/Summer Table - Side Dish
THE FAMILY
Growing up, we never ate spiedini. I can remember seeing it at this deli my dad used to take me to when I would go to work with him. It was this old school Italian deli. There was this old woman who would make trays and trays of food. When they would run out that was it they were out. She used to make the best eggplant parmigiana in the world. But I always remember seeing the veal spiedini.

My father-in-law's mother used to make veal spiedini. She would roll up the veal with tomato sauce and skewer them but cook them in the oven. He remembers they used to have raisins in them. I don't know what's up with the old Italians and raisins but they do love that stuff.

But this chicken spiedini is one of my family's favorites now. Everyone gets their own skewer. My son loves that because he gets to pull his pieces of chicken off the skewer (anything that lets him play with his food is a win these days). I love to make it on Sundays because I can buy a big pack of thighs, chop them up, and make a huge batch to last Sunday dinner and some meals throughout the week!

THE METHOD
In the summer, the grill is the only way to go. After we moved down to North Carolina, I dreaded cooking inside in the summer. It's so hot and humid here. Our first apartment didn't have air conditioning in the kitchen, and it was BRUTAL. Whenever I can make our meals on the grill, I'm all for it.

My one piece of advice is always making sure you have extra propane. Ask my wife. I'm the king of running out of propane while food is on the grill.

The key to this recipe is marinating the chicken. Let it marinate for a few hours before tossing in the breadcrumbs will let the lemon and garlic flavors really penetrate the chicken. It makes it so tender and delicious.

THE SPICES
I marinate the chicken with the salt, ground peppercorn, and ground lemon peels, along with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and Dijon. The marinade is so important to the flavor of this dish.

After the chicken has marinated, I add garlic powder, salt, and Italian seasoning to the breadcrumbs to season them and toss the skewers in breadcrumb.

THE FULL RECIPE
Chicken Spiedini is a delicious and tender chicken skewer recipe made with chicken thighs marinated in lemon, garlic, and olive oil, then tossed in seasoned breadcrumbs. It is grilled to crispy perfection on the grill for the perfect summer chicken dish!

Chicken Spiedini
(Italian Chicken Skewers)
a sunday dinner recipe using:
by Vinny DelGiudice
Seasoned breadcrumbs and marinated chicken thighs
Skewered chicken thighs tossed in breadcrumbs
Grilled chicken skewers


spring/summer
EGGPLANT
A SUNDAY DINNER SIDE DISH
Grilled Eggplant
SUNDAY DINNER DISHES
You’re going to be the one who is outside grilling these so that you can be the first one snacking on them because these grilled eggplant are the ultimate summer snack. It’s almost impossible to not be eating them as they’re coming off the grill.

Spring/Summer Table - Side Dish
THE FAMILY
We eat eggplant like it’s going out of style. Whether it's eggplant parmigiana, eggplant rolatini, marinated eggplant, or grilled eggplant, eggplant is a mainstay in our diet. But you have to change things up as the seasons change. We can’t eat a tray of eggplant parmigiana on a Sunday in the middle of a southern summer.

Whenever I know we’re doing Sunday grilling, I always grab an eggplant. Slice it, season it with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. It’s the perfect vegetable with dinner or to snack on while we have something on the barbecue.

One of my mom’s signature recipes is eggplant parm, so whenever my dad eats these, he always has to add the caveat that he prefers eggplant parm. My whole family agrees, but I have never once made these and had a single leftover. The longer we sit at the table, the more people keep coming back for more of these crispy eggplant.

THE METHOD
Usually when I make eggplant, I have to salt the eggplant for 20 minutes on each side to remove the moisture, but when you’re grilling you get to skip this whole step. The grill gets so hot and there is no flat surface that keeps the moisture in the eggplant, so they get nice and crispy.

The best part about making these on the grill is that I can make them all in one shot and they take less than 10 minutes to make. When I use a pan, I can only cook 5 slices at a time, but when I grill them, you get it done so much quicker.

It’s so hard to time your dishes to be done at the same time. Because these eggplant cook so quickly, you can finish cooking your main meal and throw these on after. Your dish will still be hot as these are coming off the grill ready to eat.

THE SPICES
I like to keep it simple. This should be quick and easy. Just season the eggplant with a little garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Depending on what you’re making you can switch up the spices. Make it a little smoky or spicy with paprika or cayenne pepper.

The best part about this dish is how versatile it is. It can work with any Sunday dinner you make. My son eats these like they’re potato chips. They’re so addicting and a great way to make eggplant in the summer.

THE FULL RECIPE
A delicious and easy side dish perfect for when you grill out on the weekends. Grilled eggplant is the most addicting vegetable dish that you will ever indulge in.

a sunday dinner recipe using:
by Vinny DelGiudice
Simple seasonings for a tasty vegetable
Lay out flat to season the eggplant evenly across its surface
The eggplant will cook quickly so keep any eye on these to get the perfect crispy texture


spring/summer
SAUSAGE + PEPPERS
A SUNDAY DINNER MAIN DISH
Sausage and Peppers
SUNDAY DINNER DISHES
Sausage and peppers is a classic Sunday dinner in the summer. Once it’s hot enough to stand outside and grill, sausage and peppers is a no brainer. This is the perfect dish whether you put it on a sandwich or sop up all the delicious juices with a piece of Italian bread.

Spring/Summer Table - Main Dish
THE FAMILY
I can remember being a kid and pretending to like the peppers because my Dad liked them. For some reason peppers did not agree with my palate as an 8-year-old. Whenever my dad cooked, he made it seem so cool, so I told myself I had to like it. Whether it was stromboli, Sunday sauce, or sausage and peppers. He always had everyone crowding around him as he explained why his recipe was the best (and he wasn’t wrong).

This was a dish that we grew up having every other week in the summer. If we weren’t having sausage and peppers, it was steaks and chevalatta. We would always have enough sausage and peppers to last us a couple days. My brothers and I would always have ours with some Italian bread with butter and my Dad and Mom would have theirs on a sandwich.

Sometimes my dad would use the leftovers to make pizza or sausage and pepper rolls. This dish is a great family dish because it’s versatile and it makes for great leftovers. The one part I hated about cooking it when I started cooking on my own was having to go outside just to grill the sausage. I wanted to do the whole thing on the grill.

THE METHOD
I LOVE using my cast iron pan on the grill. It’s the perfect tool for the grill because it can handle that high heat and it perfectly chars the peppers and onions. I just don’t love recipes that are half on the grill and half in the oven. The notion of turning my wimpy oven on when I have my grill roaring feels ridiculous.

The cast iron pan is the most versatile tool in the kitchen, and everyone should have one. With a large cast iron, you can feed an army of people on a Sunday with sausage and peppers.

THE SPICES
Sausage and peppers is a delicious and savory dish from the pungent fennel within the sausage to the delicate and subtle flavors of basil, garlic, and parsley. I season the dish in layers with Himalayan salt and Black pepper to bring out the flavors of the peppers and onions.

There is nothing like sitting down to a table with a plate of savory Italian sausage and vibrant bell peppers and onions all sauteed together until tender and flavorful. This recipe is perfect for any occasion, especially a Sunday Dinner.

THE FULL RECIPE
Sausage and Peppers is a classic Italian American meal with savory hot and sweet sausage combined with charred peppers and onions for a flavorful dish! This recipe is great because it can be made start to finish on the grill with a cast iron pan!

a sunday dinner recipe using:
by Vinny DelGiudice
Simple Ingredients for sausage and peppers
Seasoning the peppers and onions with garlic, salt, basil, and parsley
Sauteed peppers and onions with charred edges on the cast iron pan



a year of sunday dinners with Vinny:
SPICES USED
AN ITALIAN-AMERICAN SPICE COLLECTION

A quick list of all the spices Vinny used in this series.

4.9
crushed
Dried basil should be added at the start of cooking and is prized for its convenience and its ability to be used in blends like Italian Seasoning.
TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
0.6 oz - JAR$6
0.6 oz - REFILL$5
2 oz - REFILL$14
TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75
4.8
premium
powder
Premium garlic powder is more pungent in flavor and lighter in color. It is also more soluble due to the removal of the skins before milling.
2.5 oz - JAR$8
2.5 oz - REFILL$7
8 oz - REFILL$17
2.5 oz - JAR $8
4.8
flakes
Dried parsley's subtle, muted flavor is best used as support for other herbs and spices and when the herb has time to infuse into the dish. Combine it with oregano and garlic for meatballs, stews, and vinaigrettes.
TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
0.42 oz - JAR$4
0.42 oz - REFILL$3
2 oz - REFILL$9
TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75
4.5
dark pink
fine grain
Himalayan salt has a strong, salty flavor and a slight mineral aroma. This version is fine grain and ready to use in cooking or as a table salt replacement.
TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
4 oz - JAR$3
4 oz - REFILL$2
16 oz - REFILL$7
TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75
4.9
vietnamese
cracked
Our Vietnamese black peppercorns have an intense aroma, but a more mellow taste with flavor notes of wood. In this cracked form they are ideal for salads or foods in need of texture.
TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
2 oz - REFILL$5
8 oz - REFILL$13
TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75
4.8
powder
Onion powder offers concentrated onion flavor, enhancing dishes without moisture. Ideal for rubs, blends, and various cooking needs.
TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
8 oz - REFILL$10
TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75
4.9
chopped
Dried lemon peel has the distinct, bright and tangy aroma that is characteristic of fresh lemons. It is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking.
TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
1.2 oz - JAR$4
1.2 oz - REFILL$3
6 oz - REFILL$9
TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75
5.0
classic blend
A mix of green herbs with fine specks, this robust, savory Italian Seasoning Classic blend enhances traditional Italian dishes, perfect for adding depth to sauces, meats, and pastas.
TRY ME - SAMPLE$0.75
0.5 oz - JAR$5
0.5 oz - REFILL$4
2 oz - REFILL$10
TRY ME - SAMPLE $0.75