By Lisa

This was a big year for Ella, and one of the bigger events was her First Communion. Many families have very, very large celebrations. We were brief guests at one than included, among many other offerings, a taquero equipped to make several hundred tacos–in addition to fantastic chicken mole, rice, drinks, fruit, vegetables, salads….

Our family is small, and so we had a very small celebration, but it was still one of the more lovely afternoons we’ve had in this house.  Being my child, Ella made it clear that she wanted to choose the menu.  I made several suggestions: pork tenderloin? steak? grilled halibut or salmon?   Totally unacceptable.

I wanted something easy and fast, something make-ahead.

She wanted fresh pasta.

I said no way.

She said, “Mom.  Did Grandma Pat get to choose YOUR First Communion party food?”

“Um, yes. She did.”

Her jaw dropped.

“I was 8 years old. So are you.”

“But mom! It’s my day. I should get to choose my food.”

And since the day was, in fact, all about her, and, unlike a birthday, only happens once in a lifetime, and is, in fact, a profound initiation into another mystery of faith, I relented, and spent most of the week cooking and running errands for a party of 8. I figured the least I could do was honor that first feast with one as a good as I could make.

It went something like this:

Mini-Mario was enlisted…

to mix the pasta…

roll, and carry the pasta…

and hang 3 lbs of pasta around the kitchen. We cut and froze it.

He also shelled 3 lbs. of fava beans.

I spent a lot of money on pink and white flowers…

but they were so pretty care I didn’t care.

The pink and white theme carried out in the Fra Mani meats…

and the fava beans found their way into our family’s favorite spring spread:

raw favas pureed with olive oil, lemon, parmesan, mint, garlic

Prosecco with lemonade and mint for the grown-ups, bubbly lemonade with mint for the kids

An al fresco table, where we ate the  fresh fettucine alfredo, with grilled asparagus,

sauteed spinach with meyer lemon, baby tomato salad…

a Pink Lady cake, colored with strawberry puree, decorated by Ella…

and served with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Our very happy, very beautiful girl.