It’s normal to be nervous when people are coming over. What if they don’t like butter? What if they don’t drink wine or water? What if they hate my plates? All possible. But you know what? Most people are just happy to see you and the food. If they don’t want to eat shrimp, they’ll find their way to the dressed lettuce or maybe start a happy sort of liquid diet.
An easy answer is to make one irresistible focus and branch out from there. On our first night in Orlando we went with piadina. Originally from Le Marche in the center of Italy, piadina are traditionally made with rendered lard. You can either slowly melt lard from around the kidneys and munch on the cracklings that float to the surface before dripping the fat over your pile of salted flour, or do what we did: make a batch of organic bacon use the fat from that. Add a little warm water to make the dough together, knead til smooth, let it rest and then roll out. Either make the fillings yourself, or ask your guests to bring them.
Broccoli rabe sauteed w/ garlic, beautiful olive oil and red pepper flakes and slabs of fresh moz
Roasted red peppers, red onions and potatoes w/green olives (I have never seen this, but I think it would be good)
Mushrooms and sweet gorgonzola w/raw arugula leaves
Serve all or any of that with a bowl of brined shrimp and a great big salad and bottles of whatever you have and somebody and probably everybody is going to be happy. Click on this link and scroll down to the bottom for the recipe word for word. If you need to, use a wine bottle to roll them out.