Pasta alla Tavola: The Most Fun You Can Have on St. Joseph's Day

The Solemnity of St. Joseph is coming up soon (March 19th), so I thought I'd share how we celebrate this very welcome feast in the middle of Lent.

When I was in high school, one of my best friends was from an Italian family. Mrs. Vitale is an uh-mazing cook (if you're ever in La Jolla, check out her restaurant, I'm sure the wait staff is much better now than when it was me). She was also the consummate hostess, and I enjoyed many a delicious dinner over at their house. But the best, by FAR, was Pasta un Gobbola Tabola. I think that's what they called it. It's what *I* have always called it anyway. I honestly don't know if it's a real thing or if they made it up.

Update, thanks to a reader heads up, I can now tell you that it IS a thing, and it's called Pasta Alla Tavola!

Here's what happened: For days ahead of time, they would rub down a GIANT sheet (sometimes many of them) of carefully-sanded plywood with olive oil. They would set it/them on sawhorses in the front yard. Then entire high school sports teams, or our whole three-parish youth group would gather hungrily around and Mrs. Vitale would dump pot after pot of pasta with butter and parmesan cheese in the middle of the "tables."

Then we would all eat it . . . with our hands. It was the BEST.

Now, not being Italian myself, I haven't been able to muster the motivation to spend a week sanding and oiling down a piece of plywood. But I can totally boil noodles, and I have a little plastic table that I'm not adverse to giving a good scouring every once in a while.

So here's what it looks like at my house:

That baby who looks exactly like Frankie is actually Gus.
It's like a baby version of Groundhog Day around here.

Now, as it turns out, most grownups are totally lame and do NOT want to eat pasta off of a table with me.

So, here's how I set up the grownup table:

I usually serve melon and prosciutto as an appetizer, so there's a little protein, and a green salad.

The husband found a St. Joseph-themed wine, so we stockpiled a few bottles.

And St. Joseph's Day is a solemnity, so dessert is NOT optional. The celebration would not be complete without St. Joseph's Day Cream Puffs! Yum.

In keeping with my Lenten resolution,
I'm going to try making them from scratch this year!

We have also sometimes made cute little papercraft 3D St. Joseph's Tables (and St. Joseph coloring pages).

Pasta un Gabbola Tabola: cheap, easy, awesome. Happy St. Joseph's Day!