Need help with party menu
I'm planning a dinner party that will include one or two vegetarians. Is it okay to serve a pasta dish AND risotto? It's hard to feed them something substantial w/o it being all starches. I'm also going to serve a green salad and have some small bites like veggie toasts & an antipasto selection (cheeses, olives, etc)
I already did roasted veggies at my last party and don't want a repeat. Plus this is for about 12-15 people so I need dishes that I can just throw in the oven. The risotto will be enough work for me already. Rest of the menu includes roast duck in cherry sauce (for the meat eaters) and chocolate mousse.
I once went to an impromptu dinner party where the purpose was to relax an overly stressed hostess who served pasta and risotto..all was ok due to the circumstances but I found it off putting..an elegant baked ( veggie or onion lasagna) or freshly tossed vegetarian pasta with the salad, good bread and oil should be enough to satisfy your veggie guests tho to avoid the need for an additional side and to complement the duck I might do a fall veggie risotto...think some carmelized onion and cubes of butternut? 12-15 people is one big risotto even with most portioned for sides..be kind to your stirring arm.
I also wouldn't do both risotto and pasta. You could do a substantial pasta dish, such as a vegetarian lasagne, that will satisfy the vegetarians as an entree, and then do a meat main for the others. This recipe for butternut squash lasagne is absolutely delicious, and definitely hearty enough to stand on its own as a main:
If you really want to have two dishes that can stand alone as vegetarian main courses, I'd do either pasta or risotto, and then a dish like eggplant parmigiana, or something like this recipe for feta-stuffed eggplant rolls:
i have plenty of veggie friends and have made them a rustic, roasted veggie tart that is always a hit. It's easy, and pretty quick if you can roast the veggies in advance. This recipe came from 1996 Food and Wine compilation book.
2 refrigerated pie crusts (yep, they recommended these and they're pretty good)
any combination of veggies suitable for roasting: peeled and sliced eggplant, sliced zucchini and yellow squash, red peppers, red onion, portobello mushrooms are the combination that i like. Toss 'em in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 450 degree oven until caramelized, about 12 to 14 minutes. I usually separated them onto to cookie sheets, keeping the eggplant and squash together as they take longer to roast.
3 oz. cream cheese, room temp
4 oz. roquefort cheese, room temp
1 T Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
this will make 2 tarts
So, you've already got your roasted veggies done... pull the pie crusts package out of the fridge and let it almost come to room temp. roll them out onto two cookie sheets.
Blend the egg and two cheeses, a tiny bit of salt and plenty of cracked pepper in a mini chopper or in a bowl with an immersion blender. Divide the egg/cheese mixture onto the middle of the pie crusts, and spread around leaving about 1-1/2 to 2" of crust around the edges. Top the crusts with the veggies and crimp edges around the veggies to make a rustic tart shape. Bake at 450 for 20 to 25 minutes. So good even your non-veggie friends will love them.
Get Jack be little pumpkins, or acorn squash, cut in half roast, fill with mushrooms and lentils, and serve with your cherry sauce if it doesn't have meat in it. If it does then, serve as is. On a similar note, you can stuff with mushrooms and cheese and bake until gooey. All very yummy, substantial.
A nice lentil salad is always good and super easy - French lentils cooked in stock (mushroom or veggie) and a vinaigrette. Adds protein without too much work. Can also do white beans or cranberry beans as a side/main for veggies.
Vegetarians love Vegetables...hence the name "Vegetarian" not "Starchitarian" <grin> Serve them Vegetables - a stew without meat. Ratatouille, Caponata, Steamed mixed veggies tossed with Garam Masala. Vegetable curry. A vegetable Tagine. Vegetable Lasanga made with eggplant slices instead of noodles. Eggplant Parmesan. Twice Baked Onions, Stuffed Zucchini....
I wouldn't serve both. What about making a butternut squash and spinach lasagna? It will act as a main dish for your veggie friends and your meat eating friends can take smaller portions as a side dish.
You can also make stuffed eggplant boats with the inside of the eggplant, tofu, and some other chopped veggies. If you use the Indian eggplants, you can make minis.
Also, when you say it's hard to feed vegetarians- I wouldn't say that to your veggie friends!
Wow thanks for all the responses! I think I'll stick to the pasta/lasagna ideas (risotto is too tiring :P) and then do a cooked veggie dish which can double as a side for the meat eaters.
My veggie friends are pretty low maintenance but I like to have something for them to eat as well. Definitely want to try a mac n cheese w/ creme fraiche & cauliflower I saw in Bon Appetit. The feta-eggplant rolls sound awesome.
i'll rec the ratatouille that kiltedcook mentioned though i make mine a la the movie/keller style. i find that i can prep it all a day in advance and there's no noticeable degradation of the eggplant or zucc so i can just toss it into the oven day of. it's a stunning preparation that's absolutely delicious and would be a great side chock full of goodness to pasta or meat. i do skip the vinaigrette though and give it a healthy drizzle of olive oil.