Parmesan-Crusted Winter Squash

This versatile recipe works with any number of squash—Butternut, Tetsukabuto, Acorn, Delicata or any other variety you like.

Ingredients:
1 large squash, or 2-3 smaller squash, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup panko-style bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Toss the squash with olive oil and kosher salt to taste. Place the squash in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, nutmeg, pepper, salt, garlic and thyme in a bowl. Stir to mix well. Sprinkle this all over the squash and roast until tender, about 40 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Balsamic-Glazed Root Vegetables

An herb-packed marinade infuses fresh flavor into winter staples like carrots and parsnips.

Ingredients:
4-6 carrots, scrubbed, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 parsnips, scrubbed, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4-6 baby beets, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ winter squash of your choice, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch wedges
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as thyme and parsley
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl. In a smaller separate bowl, combine garlic, oil, herbs, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar. Mix the marinade with the vegetables, tossing to coat, then cover in plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange vegetables on a baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast 35-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and cooked through.

Variation: These vegetables are also fantastic served as a warm winter salad over greens with freshly-grated Grana cheese.

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Bietola Swiss Chard Gratin

Creamy with just a hint of mustard, this rustic gratin makes for a lovely side dish.

Ingredients:
1 pound Bietola Swiss chard, with both stems and leaves intact
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1¾ cup heavy cream
Grated Grana-style cheese
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Butter, for baking dish

Method:
1. Heat the oven to 350°. Cut the chard leaves from the stems. Chop the stems into short lengths, then cook briefly in boiling, lightly salted water until crisply tender. Remove the stems. Drop the leaves in the boiling water briefly, until they relax. Drain, let cool, and wring out the leaves. Spread the stems and leaves in a buttered shallow ovenproof dish.

2. Put the mustard in a bowl and stir in the cream and a grinding of salt and black pepper. Pour the seasoned cream over the stems and leaves, cover with grated Parmesan, and bake, 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is bubbly and golden brown.

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Honey-Kissed Carrots with Sea Salt

The opposing flavors of sweet honey and flaky sea salt balance this beautiful side.

Ingredients:
1 bunch carrots, ends trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoons sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Tomme, Grana or Parmesan cheese, for grating

Method:
1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil, thyme, bay and garlic. When the oil is hot, add the carrots and cook, tossing often, for 7 to 9 minutes, or until tender.

2. Taste for seasoning, then add the honey and coat the carrots, tossing a few times before transferring to a serving dish. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly on the carrots, making sure it sticks to the honey. Lastly, add a couple of twists of black pepper and grated cheese if desired.

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