Campari spritz, home-made gnocci and colourful tableware – how to throw a Missoni dinner party

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • Francesco Maccapani Missoni’s new book unwraps the Italian fashion dynasty’s rich history of food and entertaining

    Francesco Maccapani Missoni is the son of Missoni’s creative director, Angela Missoni and a collector of the family recipes. Here, he shares how to throw a dinner party in true Missoni style.

    Spend more on less

    ‘Italian food is simple, because the ingredients are so good. For tomato sauce you just need olive oil, fresh tomatoes, garlic and a little salt, but you have to spend money on good quality ingredients. Living in the US, I found food in the supermarket looked nice on the shelf, but everything tasted like cucumber, and good olive oil was like liquid gold.’

    Make it colourful

    ‘My mother and grandmother treat the table like a composition, with lots of patterned cloths, candles, flowers and glassware – it doesn’t matter if things don’t match. My mother is a compulsive collector of dishes that she finds at antique markets in Paris, Rome and Mexico. When we go away to a new place, she’s like a kid in a candy store.’

    Keep welcome drinks simple

    ‘When guests arrive, I’ll serve them a glass of Spumante [Italian sparkling wine] or a Campari spritz – it’s not as sweet as an Aperol spritz, so it’s more refreshing before dinner.’

    Always make extra

    ‘If I’m cooking for ten people, I’ll buy enough food for 15 – you never want to run out. We’ve always been a family who invites people home, instead of going out to a restaurant. Now, I cook for a group of friends every Friday or Saturday night at my house in Milan. It’s never formal – we put a big bowl of pasta on the table and everyone helps themselves. The first dish I learned to make was gnocchi with creamy gorgonzola. I still make it now, as it’s so fast to do.’

    Use signature recipes

    ‘There’s a cake that was always made for my mum’s birthday by her best friend – the recipe [below] was secret until after she died and her daughter gave it to us. It’s a part of our family history now, so it’s very special.’

    Finish dinner with…

    ‘Grappa – it helps you digest.’

    The Missoni Family Cookbook by Francesco Maccapani Missoni (£35.84, Assouline) is out now


    Traditional Missoni recipe: Torta Segreta del Compleanno di Angela

    (Aka, the secret chocolate tart recipe for Angela Missoni’s birthday)

    Serves 6 – 8
    5 large eggs, separated
    8¾ oz sugar
    Pinch of salt
    8¾ oz of 70 per cent dark chocolate, plus more for garnish
    5 ¼ oz of unsalted butter at room temperature

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°c. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes silky with a pale yellow colour.
    2. Using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites and salt together until they become stiff peaks.
    3. Roughly chop the dark chocolate. Bring a small amount of water to simmer in a pan over a medium heat. In a glass bowl on top of the pan, melt the chocolate and butter, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes.
    4. Gradually transfer the melted chocolate into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Using a low speed, mix the batter until well combined, then delicately fold in the egg whites with a spatula. Divide the batter into two equal portions. Refrigerate the first half and pour the second half into a ten-inch tart pan with a detachable base. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
    5. Spread the refrigerated batter on top of the cooled tart base. Sprinkle on some dark chocolate shavings to finish. Serve chilled.

    Two recipes from the Missoni family cookbook will feature exclusively on the menu at Daphne’s restaurant in Chelsea from May 2018


    Reading now