Roasted vegetable timbales
Kevin Carter of La Fete Catering serves these layered vegetable stacks -- which he makes in ring molds to form perfect circles -- with farro, risotto, or polenta and a drizzle of herb oil. The stacks hold together best when excess liquid is removed from the vegetables. Sprinkling bread crumbs and Parmesan between the layers helps, too.
Canola oil (for the pan)
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
2. Place the squash halves cut side down on the sheet. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a skewer. Transfer the squash to a cutting board cut sides up and leave until cool enough to handle. Discard the paper. Leave the oven on.
3. Scoop the flesh of the squash and place it in a bowl. Mash with a potato masher until no lumps remain (you’ll need 2 cups).
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sage . Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the butter turns golden and smells nutty. Remove from the heat. Stir in the squash puree, salt, and pepper.
6 portobello mushroom caps (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter), trimmed of any stems
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Using a small spoon, gently scrape away the black gills from the undersides of the mushroom caps. Cut each mushroom cap in half crosswise to form 2 circles. Brush the baking sheet with oil and place the 12 mushroom circles on the sheet (they can overlap slightly). Sprinkle with oil, salt, and pepper.
2. Roast for 20 minutes or until softened. Leave the oven on.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pound fresh baby spinach
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and let it sizzle until the cloves start to turn golden. Discard the garlic.
2. Add the spinach, in one or two batches, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the leaves until wilted. Drain the spinach in a colander. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
1 jar (10 to 12 ounces) roasted red peppers
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup panko or other fine, dry bread crumbs
1. Drain the red peppers and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the peppers into bite-size pieces.
2. Arrange the 6 largest and sturdiest mushroom circles on the baking sheet. (Pat them with paper towels if they’re moist.) Sprinkle the mushrooms with a little Parmesan and panko. Place 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of squash on the mushrooms and flatten gently to make an even layer. Sprinkle with Parmesan and panko. Spread 1/12 of the spinach over the squash and sprinkle with Parmesan and panko. Fit pieces of red pepper (using up all or most of it) to make one solid layer. Sprinkle with Parmesan and panko. Repeat with another mushroom circle, squash, and end with th spinach, sprinkling each layer and the tops of the timbales with Parmesan and panko.
3. Bake the timbales for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot.
Adapted from La Fete Catering