It’s easier than you might think to throw together an elegant, delicious meal without any complicated recipes. I’m even tempted to call this a recipe-less meal, because there are so few ingredients–ingredients you don’t even have to measure. These recipes are safe for “eyeballing” and throwing a little bit of this or that into the mix, even if you’re not the type of person who normally feels comfortable doing that.
This is my favorite type of cooking. Simple, fresh ingredients put together with a minimum of fuss, with results that would please anyone who enjoys their veggies.
Roasted squash is nearly impossible to mess up. Your only danger, I think, is undercooking it. Any winter squash will work, but I love delicata squash because they’re pretty, delicious, and not a total pain to cut open.
Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut each piece in half again. Drizzle the squash with olive oil. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and sugar. Top with cracked pepper and fresh thyme sprigs. Bake at 425Âº for 30 minutes. These will hold well in a warm oven if they finish before you are ready to serve them. If they look dry, you can “refresh” them with a little drizzle of olive oil. Plate them with the roasted thyme sprigs and it’ll look fancy!
Broccolini is like baby broccoli. It’s sweet and best eaten lightly cooked. It’s a little more elegant than regular broccoli, but regular broccoli will also work here. An alternative but simiar preparation for sauteed balsamic broccolini can be found here.
Place the pan over medium heat and add the broccolini once it’s hot. Use tongs to coat the broccolini in the oil and spices. If your broccolini has slender, tender stems, you can cook it fully this way. If the stems are a little thicker (like these are), you can add a couple tablespoons of water and cover the pan with a lid. This will quick-steam the veggies, but the water will evaporate off so you won’t have to drain them.
Once the broccolini is bright green and tender crisp, squeeze some lemon juice over the stalks and serve.
I also served some simple mashed potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce that I prepared the other day. I think the key to a meal like this is making sure you actually like the vegetables you’re serving, since they’re not going to be smothered and overpowered by some sauce.