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What to serve with Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe?

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HELP! I'm having a dinner party this weekend where I'll finally meet my sister's boyfriend. I don't see her often enough, and she's specifically requested Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Italian sausage--not something I'd normally serve at a fancy dinner party.

How should I structure the menu? It's a heavy pasta dish more appropriate as an entree than as a pasta course.

First thoughts: an ap of cold grapefruit sections and shreds of Thai basil; a light broth soup with squid rings and diced vegetables; then, the orecchiette followed by a sage pudding for dessert? Any other ideas? Suggestions?

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  1. Post on the Home Cooking board -- you'll get a lot of advice.

    1. If you can get your hands on some blood oranges, I would serve them instead of the grapefruit.

      http://www.cookinglight.com/food/in-s...

      1. I've used freshly ground chicken, fennel seeds (bruise them a bit,) and a pinch of chili flakes in place of sausage. It's tasty and a little bit lighter. Grapefruit sections are always fantastic with fresh, paper thin slices of fennel, avocado, and high quality olive oil...capers or Kalamata olives are great to top it off. Some prosecco wouldn't be a bad idea to start. A seafood based soup like the one you're talking about will make the dinner seem a little bit more "dressed up."