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A showstopping vegetarian entree can serve as a Thanksgiving main-dish for nonmeat eaters and a side dish for everyone else.

In recent years, as various levels of vegetarianism have become more popular, it's not unusual for someone at the holiday table to be snubbing meat. Rather than make them - or yourself - pick through the various offings and be forced to ask a lot of questions about ingredients, prepare a dish that has style and substance.

Quiche is not a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but when it's loaded with roasted vegetables, such as sweet potato and onions, and laced with Gruyere cheese, it becomes a salute to the harvest. It's also a make-ahead dish and a wonderful potluck offering. You can roast the vegetables the day before, feeling free to add additional root vegetables such as turnips or parsnips, and then assemble and bake the morning of Thanksgiving. Or make the entire quiche ahead of time, let cool and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature or heat in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Risotto With Pumpkin, Ginger and Sage celebrates the flavors of the season, and a pumpkin-seed topping gives it an extra holiday boost. Don't be put off by having to stir the risotto as it cooks. It's not as arduous as people sometimes say. Unlike the quiche, the risotto is best made and served immediately so that it doesn't become gummy. You could prepare vegetables and make the pumpkin-seed topping the day before.

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Roasted Vegetable Quiche

1 red bell pepper, cored and diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 prepared unbaked 9-inch pie crust

3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

6 eggs

1 cup half-and-half

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together the red pepper, red onion, sweet potato and zucchini. Add the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, then stir to coat. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Remove the vegetables from the oven.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees.

If it isn't already, fit the pie crust into a pie pan, crimping the edges as needed. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and add the roasted vegetables. Top with the cheese.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the half-and-half. Pour over the cheese and vegetables. Bake for 45 minutes, or until slightly puffed and set in the middle. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8.

Source: Associated Press

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Risotto With Pumpkin, Ginger and Sage

If you use a fresh pumpkin, look for a small sugar pumpkin. The big ones used for carving or decoration are too stringy. You can also substitute winter squash, such as acorn or butternut.

For pumpkin-seed topping:

1/2 cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of fine sea salt

For the risotto:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup finely chopped leek (white part only)

3 cups peeled pumpkin or winter squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

5 cups water or vegetable stock

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely grated rennet-free Parmesan cheese

3 teaspoons finely chopped parsley

1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

To prepare the pumpkin-seed topping: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, toss the seeds, oil and salt together. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and toast in oven for 15 minutes. Cool until crisp. Set aside.

To make the risotto: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan and, when warm, add the leeks, pumpkin or squash and ginger and saute for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the water or stock in a pot and season with salt and pepper if needed; keep warm over a low flame.

In the saute pan, stir in the sage and rice. Once the rice starts to become translucent, add the white wine and stir. Cook until the wine is all absorbed, then add the stock ladle by ladle, being sure the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle, and stirring frequently. Continue until the rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the butter and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the cheese. Turn off the heat and let the risotto rest, uncovered, for 3 minutes before serving.

Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Serves 4.

Source: New York Times