Pasta, Risotto and You

By Nancy Caivano


Autumn Menus


Hello there—and Happy October!!

October is a wonderful month—autumn is in full swing, but the work and craziness of the holidays hasn't yet begun. Leaves are turning stunning colors and we start taking sweaters out of storage and putting our shorts and tank tops away. New York in October is especially beautiful. The air is crisp, and the humidity and oppressive heat of the summer is gone. Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons, and I especially like the different foods that we make in the colder weather. As we come in from the cold, the aroma of simmering stew, baking bread or a wonderful roast is exactly what we need. This month's recipes will again reflect the changing season, with heartier dishes, and more autumn produce.

We get a great bounty of produce in the autumn months, which are a wonderful change of pace from the summer produce. Winter squashes, apples of every variety, pears, fennel, beets, mushrooms of all kinds, turnips, and winter greens like kale and escarole. I have added many of these ingredients to this month's batch of recipes. Colder weather cooking can be so versatile. We have gone from just throwing ingredients on the grill, to throwing ingredients into a pot and letting them stew and simmer. The results can be extraordinary as the flavors mingle and enhance each other. I hope that this month's recipes entice you into foraying back into the kitchen to stir something up!

Winter Squash Now, on to the recipes. This month I have 2 pastas, 2 risotto dishes and a smashing dessert. I haven't forgotten that Halloween falls at the end of this month, and this dessert is perfect for either a sophisticated Halloween party, or warming up your little trick-or-treaters!!

First, the pastas. Pasta with Veal, Tomatoes and Mascarpone is a lovely fall dish. A terrific tomato sauce flavored with pancetta, red wine and aromatic vegetables is the backdrop for this pasta. Veal scallopine are sautéed then combined into the sauce. Rich mascarpone cheese is stirred in at the very end for the maximum amount of flavor. Another perfect autumn dish is Pasta with Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Sausage and Mushrooms. This dish shows off the versatility of the spaghetti squash, which takes on a truly remarkable flavor when roasted. It is then combined with pasta, savory Italian sausage and a variety of mushrooms for a true taste of autumn.

Our risotti this month both feature the aromatic and versatile fennel bulb. First, we have Risotto with Sautéed Swordfish and Fennel. This is a different kind of risotto with many unique flavors. The swordfish is cut thinly, like veal scallopine, then sautéed until golden brown. It is then combined into the risotto with fennel and other aromatics, plus blood oranges and Hungarian Paprika. The many different flavors meld together to make a truly spectacular dish, perfect for your next dinner party. Our other risotto, Risotto with Fennel, Pears and Gorgonzola, is another dish with different kinds of flavors. The fragrant quality of the fennel combines perfectly with the sweetness of the pears, and the Gorgonzola gives it just the right kick to make it a stand out dish.

Our "Halloween" dessert is a virtual autumn harvest—Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramelized Apples and Pears, and Amaretto Crème Anglaise. What would Halloween be without pumpkins?? The pumpkin custard makes this bread pudding a different but fabulous treat. The caramelized fruit could be a dessert on its own, but it enhances the pudding perfectly. The Crème Anglaise binds the entire dessert together, adding a cool dash of creamy flavor to this warm, comforting dessert.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes, and have a lovely October. I will see you again in November, when our Holiday preparations get underway!!


Nancy Caivano


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This page created October 1999

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