Buttery Braised Leeks

Accented with just a squeeze of lemon, these sublime leeks are a worthy side dish.

Ingredients:
2 leeks, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Melt butter and olive oil over a medium-high flame in a large sauté pan.

2. Once the oil and butter are hot, place the leeks cut side down into the pan. Let the leeks brown in the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip the leeks over and turn the heat on low. Cover and let the leeks braise for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the leeks are soft all the way through.

3. Take the leeks off the heat and squirt the lemon juice over the braised leeks and add salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Delicata Squash

Tossed with cream and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, this beautiful side from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy enhances the sweet flavor of autumn squash.

Ingredients:
2 Delicata squash, halved, seeded and cut in half crosswise to yield 4 total pieces
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Pinch grated nutmeg
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Arrange the pieces of squash, cut-side up, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle cream over squash pieces and use a pastry brush to spread evenly around. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle each piece with a little nutmeg and then a sprinkle of the Parmigiano.

3. Bake squash for 30-40 minutes, basting once or twice during cooking. The squash is done when cream is thickened and lightly browned, and flesh is tender. Transfer to platter and serve immediately.

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Whole-Roasted Cauliflower

This dish can’t be beat for presentation, served whole and topped with olive oil and sea salt.

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed
2 ½ cups dry white wine
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
Additional olive oil and sea salt for garnish

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 475°. Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, lemon juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf and 8 cups water to a boil in a large stock pot.

2. Add cauliflower, reduce heat and simmer, turning occasionally until knife easily inserts into center, about 25 minutes.

3. Using two slotted spoons, removed cauliflower from pot and transfer to rimmed baking sheet, draining well. Roast until brown all over about 30-40 minutes.

4. Transfer cauliflower to serving platter, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears

This unique flavor combination is accented by salty pistachios.

Ingredients:
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 pear, halved and cored
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, place pear halves, cut sides-down, on the baking sheet, making sure there is enough oil to coat their cut surfaces.

2. Roast for about 20 minutes, then turn the Brussels sprouts with a metal spatula so that both sides will get caramelized. After another 10 minutes, turn the Brussels sprouts again, also flipping the pear slices. Reduce the oven heat to 375°.

3. Add pistachios to the pan to toast slightly, removing the baking sheet from the oven after 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice directly over all the ingredients, then use a spatula to roughly chop pear halves. Toss thoroughly, check for seasoning, and serve warm.

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