Pan-Roasted Balsamic Cipolline Onions

Pan-Roasted Cipolline

I look forward to seeing tiny, sweet Italian cippoline onions when they appear during the fall. This is my twist on the traditional bowl of Thanksgiving pearl onions; roasted on the stovetop with a buttery balsamic glaze.

Pan-Roasted Balsamic Cipolline Onions

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound cippoline onions
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  6. 1 sprig thyme or rosemary
  7. Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Blanch the onions in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes; drain, let cool slightly then slice off the very tops and slip off the skins.
  2. Heat the butter and oil over medium-high in a heavy skillet until the butter melts. Add the onions and cook until they are brown all over, stirring them around occasionally.
  3. Sprinkle the onions with the sugar. Pour over 1/3 cup water and the vinegar. Add the herb spring, cover the pan and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated and the onions are caramelized.
http://familystylefood.com/2012/11/pan-roasted-balsamic-cipolline-onions/

Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin

Cauliflower Mascarpone Tart

Are you the type of Thanksgiving cook (and/or eater) who expects to sit down to the same lineup of food from year to year or do you like to get a little bit crazy and try something completely new every time?

I’ve learned that there are definitely two distinct – and very personal – approaches to getting the holiday menu together. I recognize one, the tried-and-trues, as the keepers of family traditions; rational, organized, intelligent souls who keep things simple (doable) and predictable (foolproof).  Which makes a lot of sense. How else to organize 10, 20 or more people around a dining table and keep the peace?

I count myself in the other, open-to-experiment camp. While I’ve never ditched the turkey altogether and made fish instead (as Debra did to much disappointment in one episode of Everybody Loves Raymond) I like to play with vegetables and entertain ideas on how to handle the turkey (shall we bone it, brine it, spice it, tie it up and smoke it?).

I’ll be sharing a few of my ideas for vegetable side dishes over the next week, nothing too wild and crazy. But maybe something to mix up the usual suspects.

In the meantime, leave me a note and share your family favorites, old or new.

Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  1. 1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
  2. 1 tablespoon softened butter
  3. 1 8-ounce container Wisconsin Mascarpone cheese
  4. 3/4 cup heavy cream
  5. ½ cup Wisconsin grated Parmesan cheese
  6. ¼ cup chopped fresh sage
  7. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  9. Freshly grated black pepper

Instructions

  1. Blanch the cauliflower in a pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes; drain.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 7 x 11 gratin dish with butter; arrange cauliflower in dish.
  3. Stir together Mascarpone, cream, ¼ cup Parmesan,sage, garlic, salt and black pepper to taste until smooth; pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, or until top is browned and sauce is bubbling. Rest 15 minutes, loosely covered, before serving.
http://familystylefood.com/2012/11/cauliflower-mascarpone-gratin/

Roasted Vegetables and Parmesan Polenta

Roasted Vegetables and Parmesan Polenta

I’m always amazed that my appetites change right along with the seasons. It’s clockwork; the last days of summer are turning to fall and I feel it from my first step outside in the morning, when there’s a chill in the air that wasn’t the day before.

Dinner starts to require something more than just a salad + something off the grill, and I’ll be thinking about what to cook at 4 o’clock rather than the relaxed summer schedule that sometimes doesn’t start until after 6…or whenever.

Polenta is often what I make when that fall feeling hits. I’m generous with butter and Parmesan cheese because they are made for each other (face it, polenta would be bland without it), tempered by a happy amount of roasted vegetables. It’s all good.

Roasted Vegetables and Parmesan Polenta

Ingredients

  1. 1 each red, yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
  2. 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  3. ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. Salt and pepper
  6. 3 small or 2 medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
  7. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  8. 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  9. 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  10. 1 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal
  11. 1 – 2 teaspoons salt
  12. ½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  13. 3 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine the peppers, tomatoes, onion, olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt and pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until beginning to soften and turn brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, add the zucchini, garlic, thyme and balsamic vinegar. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is bright green and slightly tender (not mushy).
  3. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Gradually pour the polenta into the water while whisking at the same time. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and continue to cook the polenta about 20 minutes or until it thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cheese and butter and add additional salt to taste if needed.
  4. Serve the polenta in bowls with the roasted vegetables and their juices over the top; sprinkle with additional cheese if you like.
http://familystylefood.com/2012/09/roasted-vegetables-and-parmesan-polenta/