Dinner-Party Party-People!

It’s cold where a lot of you are (and buried in snow if you’re anywhere close to the East coast!) and perhaps you’re feeling a little stir crazy. Summer is a great time for barbecues and outdoor revelry, but what about when you’re cooped up in the winter?

I earned my Jr. Adult status recently by hosting a dinner party with some of my favorite people. They helped by each bringing an ingredient and their smart selves for fabulous conversation. I had scrabble and the Olympics in case the conversation lulled, lots of wine, antipasto as appetizers, sorbet for dessert, and a delicious hearty stew as our main focus.

What’s key with a dinner party is to have either a variety of dishes or make dishes that can be easily adapted to fit the dietary needs of your guests. We had one pescetarian and one pescephobic in our midst so I made a small separate pot without the sausage, and simply dished out the fish-haters bowl of stew before adding the mussels to the rest of the pots.

Spanish-Style Noodle Bowls
–1 lb. of linguine, capellini, or other thin pasta
–1 lb. chorizo
–garlic, minced
–1 yellow onion, diced
–2 pinches saffron threads
–1 green bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
–1 bell pepper of another color (red, yellow, orange), seeds removed, diced
–1 32 oz. box chicken broth
–1 cup white wine
–1 container of plum, cherry, or grape tomatoes, chopped in half
–1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

Cook noodles per package directions.

Heat a large stock pot (one that has a well-fitting lid) over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking apart into smaller chunks. Once cooked, pour off some of the grease into a jar or container (never down the sink!), leaving some of the oil in the pot with the meat.

Add the onion, garlic, and saffron and cook for 2-ish minutes, stirring constantly. This allows the saffron to permeate and creates a nice base. Next add the chopped peppers and cook until peppers are tender.

Add the wine and half of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for a few minutes before adding the rest of the chicken broth. Then turn down to simmer. Add in the tomatoes and give a healthy stir.

You have two options about the noodles. You can drain them and add them to the pot now, giving a healthy stir so as to mix well. Or you can dish the noodles into bowls and pour the stew over top. Whichever you prefer!

Now add the mussels to the pot. Cover with the well-fitting lid and leave covered to steam for 3-5 minutes. Open and serve!

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