Monday, March 14, 2011

Dinner Party!

What's a girl to do when she's missing Upstate NY and all it's snowy glory? Throw a dinner party of course! Because then you're just spazzing out about food. Luckily Woody and Amanda decided to indulge me with less than 24 hours notice because that's how they roll.
The Menu:
Drinks: Homemade Lemonade, artfully crafted into Vodka Lemonade Martinis by the masterful Woody
Apps: Chicken Wings from Amanda
Dinner (by Giada!): Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad and Creamy Baked Fettuccine with Asiago and Thyme
Dessert: Zucchini Nut Bread Cookies
And it was all pretty yummy. I would definitely make the salad again even though I couldn't find pancetta and subbed in some prosciutto. I'm slightly enameled with fennel (but only cooked/baked and absolutely no fennel seeds!) The pasta was decent but obviously not your normal heavy mac and cheese. It was light and slightly tangy from the asiago and creme fraiche, the thyme added a nice subtle flavor. If I made it again I would definitely beef it up with some chicken or veggies to give it a little extra something.
Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad
(By Giada, Everyday Italian)
1 bulb fennel, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
5 slices pancetta (prosciutto or bacon can be substituted)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces (about 6 to 7 cups) mixed salad greens
Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, toss together fennel, pancetta, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the ingredients on the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and the fennel is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, place the salad greens, crumbled pancetta, and caramelized fennel. Toss the salad with the Red Wine Vinaigrette and serve immediately.
Red Wine Vinaigrette
Ingredients:2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired
Creamy Baked Fettuccine with Asiago and Thyme
(By Giada, Everyday Italian)
1 pound fettuccine pasta (I used rotini because that's what I had on hand)
2 cups grated Asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup
2 (8-ounce) containers creme fraiche
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
3. In a large bowl combine the 2 cups Aiago cheese, creme fraiche,Parmesan, thyme, salt, pepper, cooked pasta, and pasta cooking liquid. Gently toss until all the ingredients are combined and the pasta is coated. Place the pasta in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup asiago cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Let sit for at least 5 minutes and serve.

And now I'm not going to cook for the rest of the week. Hooray leftovers!

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I will be happy to "indulge" you in your dinner parties anytime you like ;)

    Everything was delicious!