Award winning architects from New York, Matt Burgermaster and Lucy Stoll of MABU Architecture, shared their dinner party repertoire with us. And it inspired us to seek out our favourite recipes to celebrate the (almost) start of summer. Read on for party-ready recipes that will take you through the night - inspired by Matt and Lucy's dinner party routine.
the main: risotto - a dinner party classic.
The risotto: known for its rich flavour and creamy texture, this simply made dish can quickly impress your guests. Serve for four, or make the batch and freeze for later. In light of the changing seasons, we've opted for a fresh take on the risotto and featured Kenji Lopez Alt's spring vegetable risotto below. (Spring = almost summer, right?)
spring vegetable risotto | makes 4 servings as a main course - takes 1.5 hours.
Inspired by one of our favourite chef's and food bloggers, Kenji Lopez-Alt, we made our take on his spring vegetable risotto. Swapping snap peas for english peas, dried morels for fresh, and using vegetable stock instead of liquid from the mushrooms, we took Kenji's easy, minimal-stirring-required risotto recipe and made dinner for four. we also added some freshly grated parmesan - optional but delicious.
- 1 c asparagus, woody ends snapped off, stalks cut into 1-inch segments, tips removed and reserved separately
- 3/4 c english peas, shelled
- 3/4 c fresh shelled fava beans
- 1 zucchini, sliced in half, then in quarters (so you are left with long spears)
- 1 1/2 c fresh morel mushrooms
- 1 1/2 c risotto-style rice (we used arborio)
- 1 c white wine
- 3 1/2 c vegetable stock
- 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 small shallots, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 c fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon juice and 2 teaspoons zest from 1 lemon
- 1 c grated parmesan (or similar cheese) - optional
Blanch the vegetables.
Bring 2 litres of lightly salted water to a boil; while it is heating, prepare an ice bath. Working with one vegetable at a time, cook asparagus stalks, asparagus tips, peas, fava beans, and zucchini by adding the vegetable to the boiling water and cooking until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes (taste as they cook to confirm doneness). Scoop out from the pot using a strainer or slotted spoon, and immediately transfer to ice bath to stop cooking, then drain and transfer to a bowl. Set all vegetables aside while you prepare the risotto.
Prepare the rice.
Mix rice with water in a large bowl. Agitate rice with fingers or a whisk to release starch. Strain through a fine mesh strainer set, then allow the rice to sit and continue to drain for an additional five minutes, stirring rice occasionally.
Make the risotto.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan (we used a 12 inch braise pan) over medium-high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring and tossing frequently until rice has begun to take on a golden blond color, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and continue to cook, stirring frequently until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Pour 3 c broth and 1 c wine over the rice. Increase heat to high and heat until simmering. Stir rice once, cover, and reduce heat to lowest possible setting.
Cook rice for ten minutes undisturbed. Stir once, shake pan gently to redistribute rice, cover, and continue cooking until liquid is mostly absorbed and rice is tender with just a faint bite, about 10 minutes longer.
While rice is cooking, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until faintly nutty and crisp in bits, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate.
Remove lid from rice and add final cup of liquid. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring and shaking rice constantly until thick and creamy. Fold in vegetables, mushrooms, parsley, and lemon juice and zest, and Parmesan (if using). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
pairings: inspired by matt + lucy.
Matt and Lucy shared their dinner party routine, which inspired us to hand-pick a few staple food and drink pairings for your spring vegetable risotto.
"It starts around the kitchen island with drinks and snacks - usually some bacon wrapped dates or a cheese plate; easy appetizers."
- recipe for bacon wrapped dates from the food network
- tips for building your cheese plate from bon appetit
"Our parties are always casual, family style. We tend to adhere to a "nothing formal, but everything in the right place dinner. Favourite meals are things like a red beet risotto with a salad and maybe some great roasted vegetables"
"We have a good collection of imported booze (schnaps!) from Germany. A good night always includes a roll out of the schnaps, and if things are going well...maybe some homemade limoncello."
- homemade limoncello recipe from the food network
Don't forget to read our full interview with NYC-based award winning architects, Matt Burgermaster and Lucy Stoll of MABU, and be sure to check out our editorial, The Pursuit of Happiness, where we talk about what it means to own 'the right things' in an age of heightened consumer consciousness.