Dinner party help!
I'm making a braised pork ragu and serving it over fresh pasta. Can you recommend some side dishes to accompany. What kind of a salad? Vegetable?
Salad? Ceasar is classic, as is a simple vinaigrette, but you can go anywhere with this.
This satisfies both, salad and vegetable, it's easy and yet impressive. Grill or roast asparagus, (can be done in advance, room temp is fine) toss with just a little balsamic vinaigrette, top (say 4 per person) with a poached egg and shaved parmesan.
I would like to start the meal off with something fresh and crisp before a heavy entree, and pork loves fennel. Maybe a nice green (arugula if you like it) with shaped fennel and orange supremes. Monavano nailed it on the vegetables. My first choice would be the rapini with crushed red pepper, lemon, garlic and anchovy paste.
An easy fennel and orange salad idea I've made a couple of times recently: Toss a couple of thinly sliced fennel bulbs with a vinaigrette made of 50/50 freshly squeezed clementine juice and olive oil (I used 2 Tbsp of each to dress 2 medium bulbs). Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can dress the ahead of time or at the last minute, whichever works in your schedule. Serve over baby arugula and top with shaved parmesan.
Refer to this thread if you want: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829023
My main last Saturday night was a lamb ragu with fresh pappardelle, so not altogether different from you pork ragu. Anyway the apps, sides, dessert - all delicious and went together well. The salad, which I topped with seared scallops, would have been almost as good without the scallops - greens, blood oranges, pomegranate.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who sometimes goes blank planning dinner.