It’s Spring, and I find myself obsessed with vegetables. It’s a little too early for grilling them (but I will obsess over that in another few weeks), so I’m roasting them in a hot oven every chance I get. Honestly, you can’t go wrong by just coating them in a good olive oil, salt ( Kosher preferably), pepper and any spices of choice. You can let your imagination run wild. When I’m in the mood for India food, I will go through my spice drawer and pull out ground curry, turmeric, cumin, coriander, etc. and mix it all together with cauliflower florets and maybe some cubed red and yellow peppers. I can’t think of a vegetable that is not delicious just simply roasted like this. Being a “recipe gal,” it is not easy for me to just grab and mix with no instruction of any kind, but this is truly fool proof. I hope you will throw caution to the wind, and enjoy your favorite vegetables combined with your favorite spices.
All that being said, I must share with you another recipe from the Barefoot Contessa which roasts butternut squash with maple syrup, pancetta and sage. This may sound a bit more difficult than what I have described above, but it is still as simple as can be. These flavors all blend so beautifully that you will have to restrain yourself from eating the entire pan!
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes.
1 head garlic, separated but not peeled
2 TBSP good olive oil
2 1/2 TBSP pure maple syrup
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
16 whole sage leaves
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place the squash and whole unpeeled garlic cloves on a sheet pan in one layer. Toss with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the squash begins to brown, turning once during baking.
3. Sprinkle the pancetta and sage leaves evenly over the squash and continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the squash and garlic are tender and caramelized. Season to taste and serve hot. She suggests that you serve with French bread and spread the roasted garlic on the bread. With or without the bread, this is yummy!
I would love to hear what vegetable and spice combinations your imaginations produced. The possibilities are limitless.