Happy February! While I continue to work on my Valentine’s Day Menu, which I am test-driving this Tuesday to a dear group of friends, I thought I would share a quick & easy pasta menu with you.
A few weeks ago, our neighbor & dear friend, John, came over for dinner…Carole, his wife, was out of town, so I texted him earlier in the day to see if he would like to join us for dinner. He accepted my invitation. Now, what to make. Being that it was Tuesday, I knew we were going to have something chicken…on Tuesdays, The Fresh Market sells their vegetarian-fed, antibiotic-free boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $2.99/pound…a true bargain. Since I was off that particular day, which was freezing cold BTW, I thought we would have pasta for dinner…we hadn’t that in a long time. Rigatoni is our family favorite…pasta selected. Now for the sauce…
…we are pretty much a marinara-based sauce family as well. Since I was in a rush…it was my day off, after all…I randomly bought a few things, including a variety of salad greens, roasted peppers, artichokes & fresh bread…pancetta, mushrooms & chocolate gelato…I decided that I would figure out what I was going to make later that day…I would have time, right? It was my “off-day”.
Well, as my “off-days”usually go, I finally started thinking about making dinner at around 6:30 pm, when Émilie & I walked in the door. Bert was on his way home & John was due in 30 minutes. Uh-oh.
At least I had a loaf of bread, butter, olive oil & wine…that would tame the boys…Émilie just needed bread. Thank goodness for her.
I thought fast on my feet. Originally, I thought that I would combine the peppers & artichokes with the chicken & I could add a little crushed tomato. The mushrooms & pancetta would go in the salad. Too complicated & too much time. Instead, I decided to combine the pancetta & mushrooms with the chicken, add extra crushed tomatoes, tomato paste & a can of black olives, which Émilie loves. I had a piece of Parmesan for serving. While the sauce simmers for 20-30 minutes, make the salad & cook the pasta…done.
One of my favorite “entertaining pearls” is to go with the flow…do not panic…do not be afraid to change the original plan…Life isn’t perfect…neither is Entertaining.
We had a little gelato for dessert…I like to keep a variety of cookies on hand for an impromptu dessert, especially during the week. Here’s another “pearl” I’d like to share with you…
When serving dessert, do not think so much about “what” you’re serving, think instead of “how” to serve it.
If you have followed me for a while, you probably have ascertained that I have a bunch of martini glasses, which are perfect for serving everything from cocktails to appetizers to dessert. A scoop of any frozen confection with fresh fruit or cookies…or both…is a beautiful, yet simple presentation. Take, for instance, this dessert I posted a year or so ago…Winter Citrus Sundaes…
…this dessert takes minutes to make…douse cut naval & blood oranges with a little triple sec, & serve over vanilla ice cream, orange sorbet & lemon sorbet. It’s better than a Creamsicle. What I love most is that the dessert is simple, yet elegant, in its presentation. Getting this dessert on a weeknight doesn’t get any better!
If you don’t have Sunday dinner planned yet for tomorrow, I know you will love this dinner menu! If you’re feeling adventuresome, try my Blood Orange Martinis…beautiful & deliciously smooth! When you try it, please let me know what you think…I would love to receive your comments. Be on the watch for my French Weekend Brunch Menu…perfect for President’s Day & Valentine’s…ooh la la! Cheers!