You Are Hosting a Double Date at Your House

October 26, 2009 by

Having another couple over for dinner is fun.

Especially when that couple loves to eat like you do, and enjoys having a good meal.

And as opposed to a big group, you get to focus on your guests and the conversation.  Instead of the massive setup and clean-up required with larger dinner parties.

In fact ... since you have all that extra time, why not plan a really special dinner?

I know, I know ... I just pointed out that you now have all this free time to enjoy your guests.  And here now I'm going to give you a way to fill it.  But done right, you can do a special four-course meal, with little hassle.

Start small bowl of flavorful pureed zucchini soup, which you can make in advance and just leave warming on the stove.  Soup is an easy way to start off any meal.

Follow it up with a complex arugula and watermelon salad, or maybe a spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette.  I like to make these salads before the guests arrive and divide out onto the salad plates in advance.  Then simply dress right before serving for a no-fuss course.

And then for the main, serve today's recipe ... this oh-so-simple yet oh-so-good butternut squash risotto with shrimp.  The beauty of this recipe is that it gives you GREAT risotto, with none of the headache most risotto dishes require.  You get to add all the broth at once!

And if you use soy milk to finish it off, you get a really rich flavor, with a lot less fat and calories of a traditional risotto.

The finally, finish the dinner off with a scrumptious rum cake that you made the night before.

There you have it, an easy four-course dinner for four!

So the next time you're hosting a double date at your house and want to serve something memorable, tell your guests to bring a white wine if they ask.  You have the perfect recipe for a a delicious butternut squash risotto with shrimp that will surely get you a second double date.

Until our next meal,


Butternut Squash Risotto with Shrimp


Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

  • 3 Oz Pancetta (Italian Bacon), Chopped (You can find this in your grocers deli. Just ask for a few thick slices, and then you won't have any extra to waste!)
  • 1 Lb Large Uncooked Deveined Peeled Shrimp
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
  • 1 Cup Short-Grained Riced (Ex: Aborio)
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth, Heated in Microwave
  • 3 Cups Peeled Butternut Squash, Cut Into 1/2-Inch Cubes (Frozen works great too!)
  • 1 Tbs Chopped Fresh Sage (Or 2 Tsp Dried)
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Milk (Or Whipping Cream)


  1. Saute pancetta in a large deep saucepan over medium-high heat until pancetta is browned and almost crisp.
  2. Remove the pancetta and set aside in a medium bowl.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the shrimp, and then saute them in the same saucepan for about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the shrimp and add to the bowl with the pancetta.
  5. Add the olive oil to the pan, and then the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add rice to the onion and garlic, and stir for one minute.
  7. Add the hot broth, increase heat and bring to a boil.
  8. Add squash and sage. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until rice is tender but still firm, and the mixture is creamy, stirring very often - especially towards the end to avoid burning.
  9. Stir in the soy milk or cream, shrimp, and pancetta.
  10. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

* Original recipe appeared in Bon Appetit Magazine.