Break out a red and white checkered tablecloth, open a chianti, and cue the Big Night soundtrack.

Back by popular demand, Mel’s making meatballs with grass-fed beef and ground pork, packed in sauce and ready to heat and serve or freeze. And we have Rustichella’s slurpable bucatini pasta to go with it.

And for something new, we’ve got a punchy piccata sauce with lemon, white wine, butter, and capers that you simply slip into the pan after searing organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, local, wild halibut, or cauliflower steaks.

Our neighborhood friends at Ceci’s Gastronomia are making us a batch of their lasagna al pesto (layered handmade pasta with basil pesto, bechamel, and parmesan) for you to pop in your oven or freezer.

And to welcome this wintery weather, Mel’s also making a big batch of minestrone. This hearty soup happens to be vegan. You can eat it as is, or add Peads and Barnetts’ Italian sausage (hot and mild) and/or pasta and serve it with some Bubb and Grandma’s olive ciabatta and parmesan. 

We’re restocking the freezer with locally made frozen pizzas from La Morra. These Neapolitan-inspired pies are made with a naturally leavened dough that’s hand-stretched and wood-fired, with a crispy, blistered crust to prove it. We’re selling their Margherita, pepperoni, and vegan pie with marinated artichokes, pickled guindilla peppers, taggiasca olives, and plum tomatoes. You simply need to bake them in a 475º oven for 8-10 minutes. 

To garnish your pizza, we’re excited to share Mel’s favorite pie condiment, chopped Calabrian chili. This fruity, spicy chili is packed in brick-red oil and adds a great bite to pizza, pasta, or fish. But it’s also a great ingredient that adds body and brass to many recipes, including vinaigrettes (which is great on the broccolini that will be in the box.) We are packing it in small jars and will provide recipes so you can try it and not end up with a big bottle abandoned in the back of your fridge.

We’re suckers for a good Caesar salad, so Mel is making a Caesar dressing, and we’ll be putting crisp romaine in the produce boxes. Mel’s Caesar isn’t subtle, but for those of us who can’t get enough anchovy, we have tins of our favorite Agostino Recca anchovy filets.

Also, for your pantry, we’ve got Bianco DiNapoli canned tomatoes. We love using these canned romas to make oven-roasted tomatoes or a batch of Marcella Hazan’s best tomato sauce with the yellow onion in the produce box and a substantial brick of plugra butter. And then there’s slabs of Molinari pancetta in case you want to make some carbonara with the bucatini, parmesan and Schaner’s eggs or sheet pan cauliflower with pancetta and parmesan. (If there’s organic cauliflower at the market, there will be cauliflower in the produce box.)

Of course, we wouldn’t dare offer an Italian menu without burrata and ricotta from Gioia Cheese Company in South El Monte. I will load this burrata on some Bubb and Grandma’s olive ciabatta with oven-roasted tomatoes, nestle it in a bowl of bean soup, or serve it on a platter with Italian sausages, roasted vegetables, and Calabrian chili. And the ricotta is nice and dry, perfect for making ricotta gnocchi, lasagna, or ricotta pound cake. 

To shower on everything, we’re getting a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, aged for at least two years, by Giorgio Cravero, a fifth-generation affineur. This superior parmesan is good enough to eat before or after dinner, but you could and should put some on your minestrone, Ceaser, and meatballs as well. 

For a sweet treat, Ceci’s is also making us some tiramisu so we can keep it Italian from start to finish.

And "bite your teeth into the ass of life."