Need ideas for a SIMPLE dinner for friends. I'm tired of going out but don't want to spend the day cooking.
Francesca is the former Assistant Editor of food52 and believes you can make anything out of farro.
Pasta! Really very easy, inexpensive and when it's done properly, people love it. How about making orecchiette with sausage and kale? The little cups of pasta perfectly hold the sausage and kale and it's hardy enough to serve to guests. Here's what you do: sauté the sausage in a pan until it's just cooked through, add chopped and barely blanched kale, chopped garlic, and Italian hot pepper flakes (just enough for a bit of kick.) Then, boil your pasta for as long as the package suggests, drain it, reserve a half a cup of pasta water, and add it along with the pasta to your sausage and kale. Toss and continue to cook. Add parmesan, taste and adjust the seasoning. Festive and filling!
Sometimes the most obvious answer, the one right there in the pantry, is elusive. So thanks for reminding me to keep it simple and look right under my nose!
Easy, simple, elegant: roasted dry-brined beef tenderloin, blanched green beans, potatoes au gratin. Or use a rotisserie chicken. Have folks bring bread and apps.
Casual: Chili with toppings bar and cornbread
Interactive with friends: homemade pizza where you just provide dough and a bunch of toppings. Everyone makes one. I also like doing sushi like this; it's really fun to see how creative folks can get. All you make is rice.
Lasagna and salad?
Really, does it matter what you serve as long as your friends are around to laugh and drink wine with?
Steamedd mussels with a savory broth are really easy and cheap, serve with bread and a salad. Roast Chicken, I use Thomas Keller's, you basically throw it in the oven and forget it. Everyone loves roast chicken. I usually serve it with some creamed fennel and leeks and you could add in a fresh loaf of bread from a bakery. Making a thai curry is also quite easy, just a little chopping. What about something as simple as a steakhouse dinner, steaks potatoes and creamed spinach or roasted asparagus? Here are some recipes form this site that are simple and have been total homeruns with dinner guests.
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