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How Caroline Z. Hurley Throws a Dinner Party

Feel free to single white female her hosting style.

Not only does the girl make downright amazing scarves, jewelry, and paintings, but Caroline Z. Hurley also throws a hell of a party—and in a tiny Manhattan studio no less. Here she gives us some advice on how to entertain, her way. —raquel laneri

The Food
“I really love simple recipes—not only do they taste the best, but if the food is simple, I can enjoy my guests rather than stress over the cooking. I’ve done Mexican and Moroccan food, but I’m Italian, so I’m really good at pasta. This is by far my favorite recipe for dinner parties—t’s a modified version of a pasta dish my mom made growing up. You can use any type of pasta—orecchiette, rigatoni, fusilli, whatever your heart desires. I buy mine from the Italian store at Chelsea Market in Manhattan.”

Caroline’s Kale and Tomato Pasta

1 pound of pasta (whatever you like!)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 bunches kale, roughly chopped
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and grated parmesan cheese to taste


Boil water and a teaspoon of salt for the pasta. While you’re waiting to add the pasta, heat a large sauté pan with the olive oil and add the garlic. Turn heat to low so that the garlic does not burn. Stir in a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, black pepper, and cayenne pepper; the mixture should have a reddish tint to it. Throw the tomatoes and kale into the sauté pan and cover with a lid or aluminum foil so that the kale begins to cook. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top and stir well again. Let cook until kale is soft. Drain cooked pasta and mix into kale mixture. Serve hot with cracked pepper and more parmesan cheese.

Setting the table…

The Ambiance
“I sort of like to follow the theme of whatever food I am cooking. So, for example, for the rustic Italian meal I had I did a farm table with no tablecloth. I used jam jars – I save all my old jam jars to use for mixing paint and for around the house – as cups, and I used old scraps of my fabric for napkins. I bought the flowers I used at the local deli, and I mixed and matched them in different jars when I get home. I hardly ever buy things specifically for a dinner party. I try to use what I have. So for example, when I had a Mexican dinner party, I used tissue paper I had gotten during a two-month stay in San Miguel. If you don’t have Mexican tissue paper, you can just buy regular colored tissue paper and cut it like you would a snowflake. I like to pick up little things when traveling, or at flea markets; the stuff you find is so much cheaper and more interesting and each item has a story behind it.”

…And setting the mood.

The Music
“I love music. I’ve really been into Tune-YardsFirst Aid Kit, and Yellowbirds this summer. But for dinner parties, sometimes I use Pandora and Spotify to help go along with the theme. I will program Buena Vista Social Club for Mexican parties, and for the Moroccan-food party, I found this weird Pandora station that played Moroccan instrumental guitar music!”

Come back tomorrow to score Caroline’s second Of a Kind edition! It’s SUCH a winner.