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Pumpkin Ravioli Dinner Party Menu Help

I'm having a few friends over. I plan on making Pumpkin Ravioli with some kind of brown butter/sage/pine nut sauce (still researching). For dessert I'm making a pear bruschetta with hazelnut cream (fabulous F&W recipe).

I need help picking the other course(s). It has to be vegetarian friendly. What kind of salads would go well for this seasonal inspired meal? Would soup be better, and maybe a green side dish (green beans?). Any suggestions would be welcome.

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  1. how about a butternut squash apple soup? it fits in quite nice this time of year.

    2 Replies
    1. re: davmar77

      I wouldn't do butternut squash with pumpkin on the same menu - too similar. I vote for a salad as well - shaved fennel is one of my faves, but the arugula suggested would be very nice too. I'd add a strong cheese/nuts to incorporate some protein as well.

      1. re: biondanonima

        I agree with the butternut squash so I suggest a light spinach salad with nuts, apples and goat cheese!

    2. I like the idea of a salad, as the butternut squash ravioli is a very filling main course.

      An arugula salad would be great as a starter. If you are seving the meal family style, it would go nicely with the ravioli also.

      I can post my recipe for an arugula salad with balsamic glazed cippolini onions. It would make a nice plated salad or family style dish. Usually I include pecans in the salad and either figs or shards of parmesan. Let me know if you're interested in the recipe.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cheesecake17

        Unless it's a cream sauce, which I don't think the OP is considering, I wouldn't call this a filling main course.
        I think if you're going to serve anything else, it should be fresh/uncooked to balance out the rest of the meal, so a salad sounds better than soup. Something arugula or spinach based with some sort of fruit/nut combo for tangyness/crunch.

        1. re: yanz

          To me, ravioli with or any pasta is a filling dish.

          The pumpkin/butternut squash raviolis that I've tasted had ricotta or goat cheese in the filling also.

      2. Approaching this from the Italian point of view, no side dish is appropriate, but you could follow the ravioli with a nice autumnal salad, maybe red and green lettuces, maybe with crumbled gorgonzola to make it more of a main course. No soup either, because the ravioli is already a primo piatto. You would want a sort of substantial antipasto, maybe fennel and orange salad, or grilled and marinated vegetables, possibly interspersed with some good canned or smoked or marinated fish, if they eat fish. I wouldn’t put sage in your sauce. Sage is good with something bland like ricotta, but the pumpkin should have a lot of flavor on its own. Just really good sweet butter and a ton of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano is all you need.

        1 Reply
        1. A shaved fennel w/ citrus salad or shaved celery and red onion is very refreshing. I served a pumpkin risotto Sat and for a first course I served crostini with homemade ricotta and homemade roasted red and yellow peppers, it was very colorful and good. I followed with an argula salad.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cassoulady

            I'd do a nice bitter greens salad with a balsamic vinegarette and shaved parmesean and also maybe a hearty toasted grain tossed with some grilled vegetables like peppers, zucchini and grape tomatoes

            1. re: cassoulady

              Wow that sound fantastic, I'd love the recipe for your pumpkin risotto to try later.

              1. re: purplepamera

                Purplepamera, this is roughly what I do, although the only change is I gradually add the pumpkin puree, so with each ladel of stock, I add a little pumpkin : http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pu...

            2. I agree with the salad comments. Maybe combine them all? LOL

              Fresh burrata over shaved fennel and arugula with a squeeze of blood orange and olive oil?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Novelli

                Where are you getting blood oranges right now?

              2. I'm planning on doing a dinner party with pumpkin ravioli as well. I'd like to serve some sort of chicken dish...maybe chicken francaise? Any opinions on that folks?

                4 Replies
                1. re: adalou

                  I'd probably like Chicken Francaise with that. You're serving them together, or as separate courses?

                  1. re: Jay F

                    I'd love chicken stuffed with goat cheese along with the ravioli - the tang would complement the richness of the pasta. Depends on how you're saucing the ravioli, though.

                    1. re: Jay F

                      I'm planning on serving them together. I'm thinking of appetizers in the living room...a small platter of melon and cheese with some olives and perhaps some pepperoni and ham. Then for dinner a Caesar salad followed by the pumpkin ravioli, chicken francaise, and roasted asaparagus. Serving vegetarians and non-vegetarians is a challenge! Maybe I'll change my mind on the Caesar and go for one of the salads suggested. I love salads with greens, fruit...dried and fresh, and some cheese and a vinaigrette. Thanks for all of your help and suggestions. PS...do you think asaparagus is a little too strong for this meal?

                      1. re: adalou

                        No, but usually the late summer stalks are very large, and not as delicate as the spring ones, unless you are using imported ones.

                        Just my opinion, and I love cheese, but seems like a lot of cheese on the entire menu. I would still do a salad, just probably not one with cheese in it. And the simple butter-lemon sauce of the francese would go with the ravs, but I would probably hold off on the ricotta in the ravs, if they call for it, and use a sharp romano instead.

                  2. Salad with greens, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and shaved parmesan. Still fall-like, but lighter and with different textures and tastes than the pumpkin and pear.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Pia

                      How about toasted pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts?

                    2. I would make a salad with romaine, pecans, dried cranberries, chopped, tart apples and topped with a bit of your favorite cheese. I prefer vinegarette dressings since they are not as heavy as creamy ones. A side dish of peas would also go well with ravioli.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: deedone

                        I'm thinking l an apple cider or apple wine gastrique drizzled over bitter fall greens like frisee, endive and radicchio , a few little pillows of some creamy goat cheese dotting the top along with those ruby colored pomegranite seeds and the wonderful cruch and toastiness of pecans

                      2. I think I would serve one of the wonderful salad suggestions on here as a first course. With the ravioli I would serve brocollini with garlic and red pepper flakes. If it didn't have to be vegetarian I would go with some sort of pork dish too.

                        1. A salad of mixed greens sounds good, but I'd probably make a soup to start, too. I suggest this veggie-friendly lentil soup, originally based on this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/greek-le...


                          8 ounces brown lentils
                          1/4 cup olive oil
                          1 tablespoon minced garlic
                          1 onion, minced
                          1 large carrot, chopped
                          1 1/2 celery ribs, including leaves, chopped
                          1 quart vegetable broth
                          1 pinch dried oregano
                          1 pinch crushed dried rosemary
                          2 bay leaves
                          1 tablespoon tomato paste
                          salt and pepper to taste
                          white pepper, to taste
                          1/2 tsp. soy sauce
                          1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
                          dash cayenne

                          For serving:
                          fresh lemon juice
                          handful of freshly chopped parsley


                          Place lentils in a large saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook for 10 minutes, then drain lentils into a strainer.

                          Dry saucepan, pour in olive oil, and place over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then add tomato paste and stir until color deepens.

                          Pour in lentils, 1 quart broth, the soy sauce, balsamic, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt, pepper, white pepper, and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils have softened, 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add additional water or broth if the soup becomes too thick.

                          This soup tastes best if the flavors are allowed to meld overnight. Shortly before serving, stir in chopped parsley and fresh lemon juice to taste. Enjoy!

                          1. Thanks for such great ideas. Thanks everyone, I really like the idea of the parmesan, fennel and orange on a bed of spinach or arugula. I'll see what is fresh at my local market and find something delicious.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: purplepamera

                              Good luck purple! Let us know how dinner goes. I'll report on mine as well.

                            2. Start with an arugula and goat cheese salad, maybe some beets. Serve either roasted broccoli or brussel sprouts with the ravioli.