Herb-Roasted Acorn Squash

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I love this recipe because its endlessly adaptable. Don’t have acorn squash? Use delicata instead. Ran out of sage? Substitute with rosemary. Just don’t use a squash with thick skin like butternut, since you won’t be peeling it here.

Herb-roasted acorn squash

Ingredients:

1 pound acorn or delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced crosswise ½” thick
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
2 sprigs sage
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Toss squash, garlic, sage, oil, and salt in a shallow baking dish to combine.

2. Turn garlic cut side down, then roast vegetables, tossing 2 or 3 times, until golden brown, very tender, and edges and cut sides are crisp, about 1 hour. Let cool a little, then add vinegar and toss to coat.

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

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I swore to myself as I made these spaghetti and meatballs that I’d never attempt them again. I mean, this recipe is labor-intensive and time-consuming. But then I cut into a meatball and I slurped some of the noodles and sauce and you know what? These are the best spaghetti and meatballs I’ve ever made, so uh, looks like this recipe is a keeper. And the leftovers last for days — if you can keep yourself from taking seconds. And thirds.

Classic spaghetti and meatballs

Ingredients:

For the tomato sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 sprigs basil
2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
Salt and pepper

For the meatballs:

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten to blend
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta
1/4 cup finely chopped prosciutto
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground beef, preferably 20% fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spaghetti

1. Make the tomato sauce: heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add basil sprigs and stir to wilt. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands, and their juices; season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and flavors have concentrated, about 1 hour.

2. Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the eggs, garlic, ricotta, prosciutto, parsley, and 1/3 cup Parmesan. Add fennel to bread mixture along with oregano, nutmeg, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Add beef and break up into small pieces. Mix gently with your hands until smooth and ingredients are evenly incorporated; be careful not to over-mix.

3. Lightly oil your hands. Working one at a time, scoop out 1/4 cup portions of meat mixture; roll gently between your hands into balls. Arrange on a baking sheet.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium. Add half of the meatballs and cook, turning and rolling occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Add meatballs to warm sauce. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining meatballs.

5. Cook meatballs in sauce (they should be mostly submerged) at a gentle simmer, gently scraping bottom of pot and adding a splash of water if sauce begins to stick, until meatballs are cooked through and tender, about 40 minutes.

6. Transfer meatballs to a clean baking sheet; cover with foil to keep warm. Pluck out and discard basil from sauce. Use an immersion blender to break up any large pieces of tomato and smooth out sauce.

7. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Using tongs, transfer to pot with sauce. Stir, adding a little bit of pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Transfer spaghetti to a serving dish and top with meatballs and any reserved sauce. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and serve.

Deviled Eggs with Dungeness Crab

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Every year, denizens of the Bay Area eagerly await a very special season. The weather is getting chillier, the nights are getting longer, and a very special something is along the way: Dungeness crab.

Outsiders may ridicule our obsession, but they haven’t tasted the sweet, juicy, tender delicacy that is Dungeness. And no holiday season is complete without a few crabs at the table, right?

This appetizer brings together Dungeness crab, which everyone loves, and deviled eggs, which everyone also loves, unless you have no taste. (Or maybe you haven’t had a good deviled egg? I was once there, my friend. I understand the struggle.)

Creamy, salty-sweet, and easy to prepare ahead of time, these get eaten up in an instant. You might want to make extra.

Deviled Eggs with Dungenness Crab

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 minced shallot
2 tablespoons snipped chives, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
Salt
1/4 pound Dungeness crab
Salmon roe, for garnish (optional)

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a saucepan, cover the eggs with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Cover and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and transfer to the ice water bath to cool completely.

2. Peel and halve the eggs lengthwise. Transfer the yolks to a medium bowl and mash with the back of a spoon. Arrange the egg whites on a platter. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, shallot, 2 tablespoons of chives, parsley, capers, thyme, vinegar and Tabasco to the bowl with the egg yolks and mix until smooth. Season with salt. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and fill the egg whites. Top each deviled egg with some of the crab and garnish with roe and chives.

Radicchio and Arugula Salad

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This simple salad is my new go-to when the weather starts getting chilly: it hits all the right notes: savory, earthy, and bitter, with a hit of acidity to boot. Hearty radicchio adds heft and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese makes this salad go faster than you’d expect.

Make a double portion of this one and thank me later.

Radicchio and arugula salad

Ingredients:

3 cups arugula
1 radicchio, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons olive oil
Salt
Pepper

1. In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, radicchio, and Parmesan cheese. Dress with vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss again and serve with a little bit of extra grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Grilled Endives with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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A couple years ago, my cousins brought be a bag of plump, juicy sun-dried tomatoes from their trip to Nice, France. Wanting to make the tomatoes last, I preserved them in olive oil. I still dip into them here and there, like for this recipe.

For this winter side dish, endives are grilled to a tender sweetness and tossed with a piquant sauce redolent of summer flavors. There’s something about grilling greens that transforms them from boring to sublime.

The recipe is originally Spanish, the tomatoes are French, and the endives are, of course, from California.

Grilled Endives with Sun-Dried-Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing

One 3-inch strip of Meyer lemon zest, julienned

1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
8 endives (1 3/4 pounds), halved lengthwise 

Salt
Pepper
Sage leaves, julienned, for garnish 


1. In a medium bowl, mix the sun-dried tomatoes with the olives, the olive oil, the lemon zest and the thyme.


2. Preheat a grill pan. Brush the endives with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until crisp-tender and lightly charred, about 
7 minutes. Transfer the endives cut side up to a platter and spoon the sun-dried tomato dressing on top. Garnish with sage leaves and serve.