Randy’s Recipes Fall

Root Tart Tatin Tarte

Tatin is generally an upside-down tart of apples (or other fruit). My version combines tasty root vegetables (potato, rutabaga, carrot, parsnip, onion) with fresh herbs (rosemary, sage) and puff pastry. In addition to taste, this autumn dish looks fantastic when brought to the table.

Ingredients:

1 medium new potato (peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick)

1 medium rutabaga (peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick)

2 medium carrots (peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick)

1 medium parsnip (peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick)

1 small onion (peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (chopped)

1 teaspoon fresh sage (chopped)

1 sheet puff pastry

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Liberally spray a 9- or 10-inch round baking dish with cooking spray and set it aside. I use a 10-inch round (not fluted) white Corning Ware quiche dish for this.

Add the first six ingredients (potato through oil) to a large plastic bag and toss all vegetables until evenly coated with oil. Pour vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread out into a single layer. Bake until tender – about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While the vegetables are roasting in the oven, cook sugar with two tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring, for five to seven minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar and a pinch of salt, again stirring to combine. Quickly pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish. It acts as a “sticky” base for the arrangement of the roasted veggies.

Arrange potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, and parsnips in a single layer in the baking dish. Try to arrange them so that they are very close to one another. Use smaller carrot and parsnip pieces to fill in any open spaces. Sprinkle herbs (rosemary and sage) on top of veggies. Scatter onion rings on top of this layer.

Cut the sheet of pastry to fit the baking dish. Place the sheet on top of the vegetable mixture. Bake until brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, use what I call the “upside-down pineapple cake maneuver.” Carefully run a knife around the inside of the dish to loosen the side crust. Put a large round plate on top of the dish and, using a hot pad, hold the pan against the plate and flip them over together. Tap the bottom of the dish to make sure the tart has not stuck to the bottom. Bring to the table with pride.

Parmesan-Roasted Butternut Squash

What makes this simple butternut squash recipe different? Roasting it in Parmesan cheese and a mixture of dried and fresh thyme, that’s what! Give it a try at your next family gathering.

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash (peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup plus

1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese (grated fine)

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (ground)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Add squash and olive oil to a large baggie and shake until all squash cubes are coated evenly. Pour into the prepared pan and drizzle with a little extra oil — season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Place the pan in the oven and roast the squash for about 15 minutes. Remove squash from the oven and stir. Return to oven and roast for ten minutes more. Remove squash from the oven and sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese and the thyme. Stir and return to the oven to roast for five to 10 minutes more or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.

Transfer squash to a serving bowl, dust with the remaining teaspoon of cheese, and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Fall Alfredo

I wanted to make my comfort food and oh-so-satisfying Alfredo for dinner the other night, but I didn’t have cauliflower. I did have broccoli, but I was thinking of roasting the broccoli in the oven as a side dish. Then inspiration kicked in, and I created this quick and easy recipe that and goes from prep to table in about 30 minutes.

It features roasted broccoli florets, thin slices of fresh red bell pepper, mostaccioli pasta, and a creamy Alfredo sauce. If you don’t happen to have mostaccioli sitting around, try substituting penne pasta.

What could be better on a cool fall night? Serve with a fresh garden salad and French bread (for dipping in the Alfredo sauce). It’s what’s for dinner!

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 large bunch)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup butter
8 ounces cream cheese

2 cups half-and-half

1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

12 ounces mostaccioli or penne pasta (cooked according to pkg directions)

1 red bell pepper (sliced into matchsticks for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prep a 9x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Put broccoli florets in a large baggie, add olive oil and garlic and shake to evenly coat florets.

Transfer the broccoli to the baking dish and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer broccoli to a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Wipe out the pan and set it aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and stir with wire whisk until smooth. Add half-and-half, whisking again until smooth. Whisk in one cup of the Parmesan cheese and add pepper to taste. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for another five minutes. Remove Alfredo sauce from heat and set aside.

Add the cooked pasta and the Alfredo sauce to the bowl with the broccoli. Stir gently. Transfer this mixture to the same pan in which the broccoli was roasted. Sprinkle with the remaining 
1/2 cup Parmesan and broil in the oven for about three minutes or until the top is golden brown.

To serve, spoon the pasta onto a dinner plate and garnish it with the bell pepper matchsticks.

Acorn Squash with Orange Couscous Stuffing

This is a beautiful fall entrée or a second course for the holidays. It makes four servings.

Acorn Squash Ingredients:

2 large acorn squash

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Stuffing Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups fresh orange juice

10 ounces couscous

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups onion – finely chopped

1/2 cup celery – finely chopped

1/2 cup red bell pepper – chopped

1/2 cup green bell pepper – chopped

1/2 cup carrots – chopped

1/2 cup dried apricots – chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander seed

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

Acorn Squash Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Stabilize the squash on a cutting board stem end down. If the stem is too long for this to be stable, cut it in half sideways. Use a sturdy metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits inside. Using a sharp paring knife, score the inside of the acorn squash halves in a crosshatch pattern (about 1/2-inch deep).

Place the squash halves cut side up in a roasting pan. Pour 1/4 -inch of water over the bottom of the pan so that the squash doesn’t burn or get dried out in the oven. Add butter and brown sugar by rubbing into the insides of each squash half.

Bake for 50 or 55 minutes or until the tops of the squash halves are nicely browned and the squash flesh is soft and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Stuffing Directions:

Heat orange juice in a medium saucepan to boiling. Stir in couscous, remove from heat, and cover. Set aside for five minutes or until orange juice is fully absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Heat oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Add all vegetables and sauté for six to eight minutes, occasionally stirring. Remove from heat; stir in dried fruits and spices. In a large bowl, combine vegetable mixture with couscous.

Spoon stuffing into baked squash shells and bake in a covered casserole dish for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve while still hot for the best flavor.

TIP: If you have leftover stuffing, cover and place it in the refrigerator. It is good reheated as a side dish even without the squash.

Fresh Apple Tart

Granny Smith apples originated in Australia in 1868 when Maria Ann (Granny) Smith found a seedling growing in her backyard garden. This was the same place where she would often toss French crabapple cores. The seedling bore apples that Granny Smith eventually took to market.

Granny Smith apples are harvested in late September or early October. Fresh Granny Smiths are available at the farmers’ market in the fall and early winter. Cold storage ones are available at your local grocer all year long. You could use other apples for this tart, but it wouldn’t be the same without Granny Smith apples.

This recipe is simple yet elegant. It may be doubled without any problems, and best of all, it is tasty.

Ingredients:

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed)

1/2 cup organic applesauce

3 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and sliced thin)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

1 large egg (lightly beaten for egg wash)

2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (for sanding)

2 tablespoons apricot preserves

1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll puff pastry into a 14x16-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut a 1-inch-wide strip from each side of the dough. Brush edges with egg wash, and top with cut strips to form sidewalls (crust) around the rectangle. Prick the middle of the dough all over with a fork, and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Spread applesauce onto the middle of the dough. Arrange apple slices over applesauce in three tightly overlapping rows. Brush apples with melted butter. Brush crust with egg wash, and sprinkle the entire surface with sanding sugar.

Bake until edges start to puff, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake, rotating halfway through, until pastry is dark golden brown and apples have caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

While the tart is cooling, warm the apricot preserves and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brush the apples with the warm apricot preserves and serve!

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