07 April, 2009

La Cucina di Autunno

No season brings out my inner chef like Fall. While my warmer weather dishes drift toward the gourmet, something in the crisp chill of the autumn air, the frequency of grey, rainy days and long, clear nights inspires a deep craving for filling, richly colored dishes that no other season can bear. Two recent autumnal meals, in particular, have scratched this culinary itch.

As a side note, today's post is in hopeful honor of those recovering from the violent earthquake felt in Central Italy, today. I wish them all luck, health, and restored spirits and kitchens soon. (I apologize if my Italian is poor.)

Spaghetti di Autunno
1/8 pumpkin or squash
1 medium carrot
1 medium red onion
1 1/2 cups tomatoes
1 small head broccoli
1 bunch beet greens
1 clove garlic, minced
various Italian herbs
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1/3 standard pkg spaghetti
1/3 cup parmesan, grated fresh
Preheat oven to 220 C (430 F).

Pre-chop all the veggies, slicing pumpkin (or winter squash), carrots, and red pepper (capsicum) julienne for quick roasting.

Toss together pumpkin, onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli, 1 tbsp olive oil, herbs, and garlic and roast for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.

In a large pot, boil water and prepare 1/3 packet of spaghetti, broken in half. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water, drain the rest and set aside.

In the pasta pot, lightly sautee tomatoes (I used a late-season mix of heirloom green and ripe) using the remaining olive oil. Add in drained spaghetti and stir well. Finally, stir in roasted veggies and toss with grated parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve hot with an extra sprinkle of cheese. This is a full meal for 2-3 people.

Sweet Autumn Veggies
1 sweet potato, sliced thickly
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 ripe pear, chopped
1/3 cup walnut halves
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice only
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp thyme
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together melted butter, olive oil, and lemon juice. Toss chopped vegetables, fruit, and walnuts in the mixture until well coated.

Sprinkle in brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and thyme then toss again to spread the flavorings around.

Spread a single layer of the mixture into a large roasting pan. Roast for one hour, no stirring necessary. Grind a bit of sea salt cross the roasted veggies once they're finished cooking, and serve.

This dish is a hearty side for 2-3, or a small accompaniment for 4-6.

For a delicious Western European meal, serve this with traditionally prepared Corned Beef and some steamed and salted Brussels Sprouts.

My recipe for Corned Beef is simple. Just simmer the meat with bay leaves, a sprinkling of brown sugar, at least a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and half an onion, chopped. Simmer about two hours for an average sized cut of corned beef brisket. A standard 2 lb/1 kg roast makes dinner-for-two and a week's worth of lunch meat.


Margo said...

Mmmmm roast veges - just love 'em. Last night I roasted squash, zuchs, peppers, pumpkin, potato and beetroot - tossed in olive oil and sumac - then served them with home made bacon and sweet chilli sauce.

Next time I'm going to try your herb and spice combo!

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Oh, that sounds yummy! If only the hubby liked zuchini :( I adore the stuff. I'm sure he'd try it, though.

I saw your new design, btw. The colors are really great! But there are some layout gliches (assuming you want honesty!) like the side bar stuff gets shoved to the bottom, and when someone tries to comment, it doesn't work :( I wanted so badly to comment on your awesome sunset! If you don't want total honesty, then ignore everything I said except the great colors bit!

Mom says I have some layout glitches in this post, myself, but I can't seem to get my puter to duplicate them. Hrm.

Margo said...

Annoying re the layout but thaks for letting me know - honesty is good! That's weird. Are you using IE6? I have IE7 and Firefox latest and I can't duplicate the glitches - but DH gets them at work.

For this post your recipe boxes overlap a bit with the main blog text ubut other than that it is fine on mine (using firefox)

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Ahhh ie6 indeed. I keep putting off the update. My bad!

Thanks for the tips on my post. I'm guessing it's again a case of IE-sucks-rocks. :)

Margo said...

comments stuff fixed :) just have to work out the rest now but MUST DO WORK! 'wasted' far too much time on this yesterday LOL

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Woot, okies! I'm all updated and layout fixed. I really hate ie7, bleh! Someday I'll make the switch to Firefox.

And hey, think of time spent redoing your blog as redecorating your living room. After all, it's where we all come to visit you :)

Margo said...

joing th elight side of the force...go to firefox!!! go now!!!!


PS your layot is shiny and fixed now!

Running Up That Hill said...

Can I just say a huge OM NOM NOM NOM NOM!!!

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Running: Teehee! I posted a couple more tasty treats today, though one is FAR from veggie ;) But it qualifies as "Pesky" ha! (Pescatarian, aka fish only).

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