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What serve with this recipe?

I am having a few close friends over for dinner and movie tomorrow night. I know I am going to make Ina's orrecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage from "Foolproof" as the main dish. Now I am trying to flesh out the rest. The pasta dish in and of itself is so hearty I don't think it needs much This is what I have so far….

Guest bringing appetizers

Dinner:
the pasta
home made garlic bread
veggie?? Salad?? any ideas or do I even need?

Would a simple olive oil focaccia be better?

I am going to stick with Ina for dessert and make her raspberry crumble bars.

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  1. Are you eating at a table or will you all be on couches/chairs watching a movie while you eat? I think it makes a difference. I wouldn't want to balance too much on my lap. You have broccoli rabe in the dish, so not sure another veggie is needed. The bread choice, well, which is easier? I don't see much difference between your two choices, unless you have guests that don't want too much garlic.
    And they are close friends, so pasta with vegetables/bread with apps and a dessert sounds fine to me.
    What movie?

    8 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      If they don't have enough table space, you can always take a couple of saw horses and throw a sheet of plywood on top and call it "rustica"!

      I'd go with the salad and you got it nailed.

      1. re: wyogal

        Good point! We will have cocktails and apps while just hanging out and then sit down for dinner so we can catch up and enjoy some good red wine. I was thinking I didn't really need veggie but then I fall prey to my inner voice saying "you can't just serve a big bowl of pasta", LOL.

        I have homemade baguettes in the freezer so that is a snap but focaccia is so easy I could do either. I was thinking the texture of the focaccia might be better for soaking up the sauce.

        We narrowed it to down to 2 totally different movies, Woody Allen's "To Rome with Love" or Looper. We landed on Looper. Opinion??

        1. re: foodieX2

          Looper kind of left us depressed. It takes a weird turn at the end. It's interesting, but kind of deflating. And with the violent events last month, kind of a whammy.

          1. re: wyogal

            That's what I was afraid of. I was firmly in the To Rome with Love camp but lost out… You would think the cook would count for TWO votes!

            1. re: foodieX2

              You can read about it at imdb.... it was disturbing at/towards the end.

          2. re: foodieX2

            I thought Looper was disappointing.

            That said, how about a simple green salad on the side, just dressed with olive oil & rwv?

            1. re: foodieX2

              I tried to find the recipe to no avail. What kind of sauce does it have? At any rate, you really don't need a vegetable, but if you want something light, we really like this Fennel and Celery Slaw from Rachel Ray. My changes are that I use champagne vinegar instead of the white balsamic and I've never included the nuts.
              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ra...

              1. re: MrsJonesey

                The sauce is pretty simple-olive oil, lots of garlic, crushed tomatoes, red wine and tomato paste.

                Here is the actual recipe
                http://books.google.com/books?id=9ayK...

          3. Your pasta sounds great, a classic Italian dish. I was flipping through Foolproof the other night and Ina's version looks great.

            It will be filling and, since it has broccoli rabe, you really don't "need" a salad. What you don't want is for folks to be too full from apps and whatever else (bread/salad) that they don't have enough room for your main course.

            What about putting an antipasti platter on the table that folks can pick out if they wish. Just something simple and light though. I'd likely go w some marinated artichokes or caper berries, olives and roasted peppers. Give folks the option to take something if they want or, just wait for their delicious pasta.

            I'd love to hear how the pasta turns out if you have a chance to report back. Buon Appetito!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              will do!! So far I am loving her new book.

              The guest are bringing the apps but I told them to keep it light because we were having pasta AND want to be awake for the movie.

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                Although I love salad with pasta, I also think an antipasto platter with at least something vinegary will be perfect.

              2. This meal sounds delicious, but a bit tilted over on the bitter side of the palate with the brocco rabe and the garlic bread. I'd suggest a slightly sweet accompaniment like a spinach and apple or pear salad, toss on a few candied nuts and maybe some bleu or goat cheese.

                1. OK I have been to 3 stores and no broccoli rabe and heading back to Stop and SHop. What do you think a good sub would be? Kale? Chard? reg broccoli? Broccolini?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: foodieX2

                    I'd substitute Swiss chard and/or mustard greens.

                    1. re: foodieX2

                      One of the most critical elements broccoli rabe brings to this dish is the bitterness. It acts as a nice offset to the richness of the sausage. Kale would have a similar impact but you might want to cut it into strips so it's shape/size incorporates effectively into your dish.

                      Given that you're cooking for company and time can be tight, another option I'll toss out that would make your life easier would be to buy baby arugula. That would give you a nutty/bitter kick but also be simple to incorporate since you could just stir it in at the last minute prior to plating as it just needs to wilt vs cook.

                    2. I made the recipe subbing broccolini along with 2 small bunches of rabe that my husband managed to track down in Hannafords of all places. I have to say it came out amazing and even with making a double batch there is not much leftover.

                      I served the pasta with a simple olive oil and sea salt foccacia and took breadcrumbs lead and put out a quasi antipasto. I had 3 types of olives, vinegar peppers, marinated artichoke hearts and assorted pickled veggies. Served a really nice Italian red.

                      Afterwards we piled into the family room with a roaring fire, after dinner drinks and the crumble bars- another keeper recipe!

                      I couldn't bring myself to watch Looper so I talked the group into watching Ted. OMG-hysterical especially as we are all "massholes".

                      What a great night! What could be better than good food and good friends?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: foodieX2

                        Awesome! I was wondering what you were going to say about the movie, I'm glad you talked them into something else, as Looper would have really put a damper on at the end of a wonderful evening.

                        1. re: foodieX2

                          Thanks so much for the report back foodieX2 and like wyogal, I'm pleased everything went so well and really glad your husband was able to track down those elusive broccoli rabe!

                          We haven't seen Ted yet but perhaps it's time to rectify that. Nothing like a good laugh to end the day.