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Menu Help

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I'm hosting a dinner party this Saturday night and am working through the menu.

Right now, I'm thinking of serving the following:

Butternut Squash and Cider Cream Soup (as found on fall soup thread)

Veal Osso Buco with Toasted Pine Nut Gremolata from Babbo Cookbook.....

A few questions.

1. Do you think these go well enough together, or will they both be too rich, etc?
2. What else can I serve with the Osso Bucco? Prefer something green to balance the meal (the book recipe pictures Brocoli Rabe I believe)
3. Dessert....Any ideas for a nice, seasonal dessert?

Any other tips, comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance...


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  1. If it were just me and a few people whose taste I'm sure of, I'd do braised Brussels sprouts, but lots of people hate them, or think they do. A good strong-but-not-bitter member of the cabbage family would be perfect here, though, like collard greens. That broccoli rabe would do very well - if I couldn't get that, I'd get some Chinese broccoli, just because it's easy to come by here. Plain brox would be too flabby.

    Plain green beans cooked in the French manner (see Julia Child) would be okay; I wouldn't drop them under the table for the dog...

    1. Soup and stew seems too much of an overlap. I'd go with a semi-simple salad, the greener and crunchier the better.

      1. I think if you serve the soup first and a small amount almost as an amuse it is fine & sounds great.

        As far as a side for the Osso Bucco, it's traditionally served with risotto alla milanese or buttered egg noodles with parmesan cheese so that may be an option. But I love Broccoli Rabe and would make that as well, lots of garlic and salt, hm hm hm.

        1. i, too, was thinking brussel sprouts. i saw plenty of them at the farmer's market over the weekend and i, myself, have been craving them ever since.
          for desert, i would think something small and simple, since the soup and osso are preceeding it. maybe baked apples? i know that sounds (almost too) simple, but i think they would compliment the meal.

          1. I frequently serve heri c'overt (sp)or french green beans sauted in a little butter and garlic - they really go nice with osso buco and you can find them in the freezer section at the market

            2 Replies
            1. re: claree

              Haricot Vert
              (Bean) (Green)

              1. re: ANON

                But very small tender green beans. TJ's usually has them frozen.

            2. For dessert, how about a fuyu persimmon crisp?

              1. 1. I think it will be fine as long as you serve smallish portions of soup. The cider should cut through the richness a bit. I'd be inclined to serve a salad course to separate the two dishes and prep the palate for the heavy main. I think a shaved fennel salad w/ apples in a champagne vinaigrette would be nice, but some people don't like raw fennel. Key is to shave it as thin as possible. Apples, arugula, pine nuts, shaved parmesan could be an alternative. Or something w/ fuyu persimmons.

                2. Since osso bucco usually has a sauce, I think you'd want something to mop up the sauce with. A soft creamy polenta would do the job nicely. If you want something green as well, then I like kale that's cooked down w/ some onion, tiny bit of bacon, cider vinegar, and red pepper.

                3. For dessert: pears poached in white wine, honey, lemon zest, ginger w/ vanilla-flavored mascarpone.

                Do as much in advance as you possibly can so you can enjoy the evening. Many fall/winter dishes taste better the next day. The pears can be made ahead of time, but it's important to store in a non-reactive container and seal tightly so it doesn't pick up fridge funk. For polenta, use the oven method to free up your hands. I like to have some nibbles out for my guests since we usually don't eat right away...grapes, spiced nuts, etc.

                1. For dessert, how about a nice apple galette or a pear tarte tatin? Their both pretty easy and not too rich after that heavy meal. For the galette, I'd sprinkle some sugar on the crust before baking, to give it a nice crunch.

                  Mmmm, as soon as we get our power back on (still waiting since Wilma hit) I'm baking an apple galette!