If I had to pick my favorite thing about being a grown up pretending to be a grown up, I think dinner parties would be at the top of my list.  Even though I am just beginning to get my cooking sea legs, the enjoyment isn’t so much about what is on the menu, but more so about who is ringing the doorbell (bottle of wine in hand) ready to join in on the fun.

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Last week, Amanda, Amy and Lauren had us over for some wine, cheese and risotto.  Lauren flexed her newly acquired food-processor mussel and made us this tasty vegetable spread (I was pairing my heaping spoonfuls it with a little sliver of goat cheese).

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Lauren was kind enough to share the recipe with you lucky ducks:

You will need:

  • medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • large red sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • medium shallots, halved
  • cloves garlic
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary (I would probably add more, but I’m a rosemary freak)

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a shallow roasting pan with foil. Place carrots, red sweet peppers, shallots, and garlic in prepared pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper and salt. Cover with foil.

2.Roast for 20 minutes. Uncover and stir vegetables. Roast, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Cool slightly.

3.Transfer vegetable mixture to a food processor. Add vinegar and the 1 teaspoon rosemary. Cover and process until smooth. If desired, garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve with crackers and/or vegetable dippers.

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For the main event, Amanda and Amy spoiled us with pumpkin risotto.  Perfect fall dinner, right?

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You will need:

  • 3 cups no-salt-added vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine $
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Directions:
1. Bring vegetable stock and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep warm over low heat. Set aside 1/4 cup of warm stock mixture.
2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic; cook 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice and sage; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine; cook 30 seconds or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1 1/4 cups stock mixture and salt; cook 4 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining stock mixture, 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding more (about 22 minutes total). Remove from heat; stir in pumpkin, mascarpone, chives, and pepper. Stir in reserved stock mixture as needed until risotto is desired consistency. Spoon 1 cup risotto into each of 4 bowls; sprinkle evenly with pine nuts.
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Dessert from Bob’s Donuts was an easy choice, but the donut you choose, is not.  I like to be annoying and have a little of each.

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What are your plans for this weekend?  Are you a donut fan? I won’t go out of my way for most of them, but for Bob’s I will. 

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

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