Lemon Parmesan Risotto with Grilled Pesto Shrimp and a GIVEAWAY!!

Could you host a dinner party at a moments notice?  Summer tends to be a time of year where dinners are thrown together and off the cuff and full of friends and good conversation and flights of crisp cool wine and refreshing cocktails.

The trick to feeding a whole host of people on a whim is having a well stocked pantry.  Or cupboards.  Along with a fridge and freezer stocked with a few basics that will keep you from running scattered brained to the grocery moments before your guests are to arrive.

Gah! The thought makes me nervous just thinking about it … so lets avoid sweating in the grocery line behind the slowest people on earth as you watch the clock on the wall tick away as you calculate the minutes it will take to get home, finish dinner, fluff the couch pillows (err…hide the mess), and change your outfit from yoga pants to dinner-party ready.  With perhaps, make-up.  OK, maybe just lipgloss and blush.  Messy buns are still in, right?

I am not saying that a quick trip to the grocery on the way home from work prior to dinner isn’t going to happen.  But with a well stocked pantry, your grocery list may only contain 2 or 3 items and will get you in and out through the Express Lane and back in your car in under 10 minutes.  Promise.

So tip #1 for  throwing a dinner party with style, grace, and ease…a well stocked pantry.  (and let’s be honest, this will help for most nights of the week where pizza delivery isn’t involved.)

Tip #2.  Goes along the same lines and includes a simple yet comprehensive bar...or in my case…a small section of counter dedicated to cocktail magic.  Anyone have a good bar cart for sale?  Dry household?  Skip to step #3.

Tip #3.  Know your guests.  Vegetarians or vegans in the mix?  Any allergies or aversions you should be aware of?  If you aren’t sure, ask…you will be happy you did and so will your guests.  No one wants to use an Epi-Pen at a dinner party.  Trust me.

Tip #4.  Prepare dishes you have made several times in the past so you aren’t met with any surprises halfway through cooking making you order in Chinese.  If you would like to try a new dish, make it a few times before the said dinner party….a dinner party is not the time experiment with new recipes unless you like sweating it out in front of a crowd.

Tip #5.  Ask for help and accept offers of help.  This is a trick of so many host/hostess that make throwing a dinner party seem merely effortless.  Let your wine snob of a friend bring drinks.  Delegate to the person who lives close to the bakery bring the bread.  It is OK to ask and accept help!

Tip #6.  Do not make anything that will distract you from your guests for long periods of time.  NO!  Don’t do it.  An omelet station sounds cool but leave that to the diner down the street.  Pizza parties however are cool…as long as you get the party goers involved and make the dough well ahead of time.

Tip #7.  Enjoy the party and don’t worry about imperfections in and around your house…guests understand that you LIVE in your home.  It’s cool.  It makes us, the guests, feel OK about our messes we left at our homes.  We are actually quite thankful you don’t live in a Pinterest perfect house.

The great folks at Anolon – the creators of some of my favorite pots and pans, asked me to create a dish that would be perfect for an impromptu dinner party – as part of their Grab and Go Cook Campaign.   I was more than happy to work with Anolon – as I already love their pots and pans, especially since their Advanced Bronze Line can go from stove top to oven (max temp of 400F), making life in the kitchen a breeze with fewer dishes at the end of the night.  Winner winner!
(don’t be like me and just grab the handle to remove the pot from the oven or to move the pot from counter to table or to pour risotto into serving dish.  that is right, I grabbed it and wrapped my fragile little hands around the scorching handle 3 TIMES! because I am a total airhead)

When hosting a party – you want to impress AND you want to chat with/enjoy your guests, not hovering over a hot stove acting as short order cook with droplets of sweat running down your temples.  Risottos impress…but letting the oven do the work, you get to mingle and have a glass of wine or two.  It is a trick that you will return to again and again. Baked risottos are where it’s at!  And the shrimp…done in mere minutes and can be done right before serving and when your guests are finding their seats.   Lemon Parmesan Risotto with Grilled Pesto Shrimp will definitely win over every single guest.

Head on over to Anolon for the recipe and let us know what you think!  

And now the super amazing bit….A GIVEAWAY!!  Anolon is providing one lucky reader of Fork Vs Spoon with an 11 piece set of Anolon Advanced Bronze Cookware (299.99 value!).  To enter, please leave a comment below letting us know what is your go-to dish for a dinner party.  Also, earn an extra entry for following Fork Vs Spoon on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram along with Anolon on Facebook and/or Twitter.  Just let me know in the comments section of the new follow or if you already follow.  I will announce the winner on August 8th.

Cheers to your next dinner party!

AND THE WINNER TO THE GIVEAWAY IS AMBER.  CONGRATS!  Please watch for an email in your inbox from myself.  Thanks, again everyone for stopping by and sharing!
*Our opinions, made possible by Anolon.

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Comments

  1. Frances says

    This meal looks delicious!!! Also, you’re pictures are wonderful!!! Some type of pasta is usually my go-to dish for dinner guests. Usually it’s with tomato sauce but sometimes alfredo instead! Thanks for sharing! (Already follow Fork vs. Spoon; New follow Anolon)

    • teresa sulyok says

      I follow on fb and on pinterest. my go to dinner is pork chops or pork roast for company and meatloaf or chili for family , with cornbread and salad.

  2. says

    My go to dish for winter entertaining is, Apple Cider Pork Roast with Rosemary. It is actually more like a stew, with baby carrots and onions. Served with green beans and mashed potatoes,it gets wows every time!

    • Mal says

      Oh good heavens, that sounds mouth watering! It has me in the mood for fall weather meals and total comfort food.

  3. says

    One of my go- to menus for entertaining is Chicken Breasts in Champagne Sauce, boneless, skinless chicken breasts that braise in a delicious Champagne sauce, and an easy Risotto with cubes of butternut squash, diced dried apricots, sage and grated Parmesan cheese that is baked in the oven until the last few minutes, when wine and cheese is stirred in. This menu frees me up to be with my guests rather than being “tied to the stove.” I will be a new follower on social media. I already follow Anolon, as I am a fan.
    Susan

    • Mal says

      And now I am starving…that risotto sounds absolutely mouth-watering. Apricots and sage…what a great flavor combo there! Is it OK if I invite myself over for your next dinner party? Thanks for the follows and good luck!

  4. says

    I love making desserts for a dinner party – it’s usually a good excuse for me to make a big ole’ cake or tons of cookies and bars! This risotto looks amazing, and anything with pesto has me all excited!

  5. Lewis says

    I’m not much of a cook, but, there’s an easy cannelini, tomato over pasta dish which can be whipped up quickly.

  6. says

    I totally agree, there are a few things more stressful than planning for a dinner party! Once I’ve got a glass of wine I’m all good though. For something impromptu, pasta is great – we just got a pasta roller and I LOVE making my own. My favorite add-ins are shallots, arugula, prosciutto, parmesan and then some white wine sauce. And I’m a fan of individually-portioned desserts, so usually I would do something like creme brulee or molten cinnamon chocolate cakes, both served with berries!

  7. Amber says

    Following all the above… My go to dish for entertaining (if its a small gathering) is shish-ka-bobs ..I like to make chicken and steak meat skewers, then lay out veggies buffet style. Guests can put together their own veggies, and way everyone gets what they like.

  8. Ashley ford says

    My go to is always a great salad bar! We normally so grilled chicken and have all of the veggies, fruits, and topping pre cut in small dishes. Everyone can make theirs how they like it! Following now!

    • Mal says

      I think stews and soups are great for parties…they can be stretched to serve unexpected guests and can simmer away while you prepare for the party and then while guests show up. Love it!

  9. says

    I love making summery bean salads for get-togethers in the nicer weather! It is a perfect vegan side dish that is hearty enough for a main meal when everyone else is enjoying their BBQ.

  10. karen says

    I like to end the meal with a fresh fruit tart. If dessert is good, it makes up for any shortcomings in the meal!

  11. Lisa says

    My go -to dish for cooler weather is a hearty beef bourguignon (made while channeling my inner Julia Child) served over a creamy cheesy grits (with just a hint of garlic). The bourguignon finishes the last few hours of cooking in a slow oven, which frees up time to spend on last-minute prep and enjoying guests.

  12. says

    We love to have fondue nights with friends because all the prep work is done before people arrive and you get to drink and chat while cooking your meal. We usually do a pot with cheese for bread, apples and sausage and one with broth for cooking meats and veggies with all sorts of dipping sauces.

    Though another tasty option is a spicy adobo rubbed pork tenderloin.

    I’m following all of your SM accounts as well as Analon’s as AllLacqueredUp. Do I need to leave a comment for each one?

    • Mal says

      And I am coming to your next dinner party ;) Thanks for stopping by! No need to leave a comment about each follow…just need to know! Thanks bunches!

  13. Elle says

    My go to dish for dinner parties is pan cooked salmon with a lemon garlic sauce and pasta and stir fry veggies.

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