The Perfect Three-Course Dinner

By Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I recently served this menu at a dinner party for my cousin Denise and her boyfriend Jumbo, before she left for Korea. I was really pleased with it, so I thought I’d share it with my readers! It’s super easy and most work can be done in advance.

Course #1 – Tandoori Carrot and Apple Bisque
(adapted from a Canada Living reader recipe)

2 yellow onions
3 garlic cloves
6 carrots
1 medium-sized zucchini
1 gala apple
3 tbsp cider vinegar
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp masala tandoori powder
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
olive oil
salt & pepper

Chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Place them into a medium-sized pot and cook with some olive oil until the onions soften. While you’re waiting, peel and chop the carrots into 1/2″ pieces. Add them to the pot along with the cider vinegar and a bit of salt & pepper. Reduce to medium heat, stir, and let cook for 5 minutes.  During this time, Chop your zucchini and apple and add them to the pot. Let cook for another 5 minutes. Next, place all remaining ingredients in the pot, stir, and let the soup come to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to low, and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool. Using a blender or food processor, blend until smooth. Place the blended soup back into the pot, along with 3 cups of water. Heat until the soup is simmering again. Add salt & pepper to taste. If the soup is still too thick, add an additional cup of water or stock.

Course #2 – Spinach Fettuccine with Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
(adapted from Nigella Lawson)

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons Marsala
1/2 cup water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
500g spinach fettuccini or other pasta
100g pumpkin seeds
125g blue cheese, crumbled

Fry the onion in the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-based pan that can accommodate the pasta later. Once golden, add the paprika. Add the cubed butternut squash, then add the butter, stirring everything together. Add the Marsala and water. Once the mixture starts to bubble, put the lid on, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender but still holds its shape. Season to taste (keeping in mind that the cheese will be salty too), then sprinkle the sage into the squash mixture, reserving some for garnish.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a separate hot, dry pan, and then set aside. Before you drain the pasta, reserve a bit of the cooking water. Add the drained pasta to the squash and slowly stir to combine. Add some of the pasta cooking water to help the sauce emulsify, and then add the blue cheese and half the pumpkin seeds. Gently combine, then sprinkle the remaining seeds and sage on top and serve.

Course #3 – Pear & Apple Crumble
(adapted from Canadian Living)

6 cups chopped pears
2 cups chopped apples
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 pinch nutmeg
1/3 cup melted butter
½ cup slivered almonds

In bowl, toss together pears, apples, flour, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon until combined. Spread in 9×9” baking dish. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together topping ingredients, tossing with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over pear mixture, almost completely covering. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

  • Denise Atkinson
    March 7, 2012

    It was ridiculously delish!!!!!!!!
    I decided I will never make apple crisp again- only pear and apple;)
    Thanks Julia and Jase!

  • kelly
    March 7, 2012

    Yum i wanna try!!

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