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Menu For Fall Lunch

Come Party With Me: Fall Lunch — Menu

Since both Summer and my birthday are officially over, I've been a little down. There's nothing that makes me feel more excited and happy than a party on the horizon, so to celebrate the arrival of Autumn, I'm planning a simple lunch. The meal will honor the season and its most prominent ingredients. I'll start by putting together a small spread of olives, crackers, and charcuterie. When guests arrive, they can savor olives or nibble on crackers. To begin the sit-down meal, I'll serve a spicy green salad with Manchego cheese, pears, and pumpkin seeds. For the main course, a Fall lunch requires something comforting and classic, like a butternut squash and sage lasagna. If you are interested in the recipes to this menu, read more.

Spicy Green Salad With Manchego and Pears

Spicy Green Salad With Manchego and Pears

Green Salad With Pears and Manchego Cheese

Ingredients

1/3 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas; not toasted)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon mild honey
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
4 cups packed spicy salad greens, such as radish greens, watercress, and/or arugula, tough stems discarded
4 cups packed frisée (French curly endive), torn into bite-size pieces
1 (1/2-pound) piece Manchego cheese, rind removed and cheese shaved into 32 thin slices (preferably with a cheese plane)
8 small red or yellow Bartlett pears (preferably with stems)

Directions

  1. Cook seeds in 1 tablespoon oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until puffed and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels and reserve oil. Season seeds with salt and pepper.
  2. Whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add remaining 1/3 cup olive oil and reserved oil from skillet in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
  3. Divide greens and cheese among salad plates. Cut off 2 opposite sides of each pear (reserve for another use), leaving a 1/2-inch-thick lengthwise center slice with stem and core. Arrange a pear slice on each plate and drizzle dressing over salads. Sprinkle with seeds.

Serves 8.
Make ahead: Pumpkin seeds can be toasted 2 days ahead and kept separately from oil, covered, at room temperature. Greens can be washed and dried 1 day ahead and chilled, wrapped in paper towels, in a sealed bag.

Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna

Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
Fresh Lasagna Noodles, (you will need only 1/2 of the batch), cut into 4-by-13-inch strips and cooked, or store-bought dried noodles, cooked
4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/4 cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet. Season with pepper. Bake until light gold and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Combine ricotta, cream, yolks, mozzarella, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl. Season with salt.
  3. Melt butter in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add sage, and cook until light gold and slightly crisp at edges, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Place squash in a medium bowl, and mash 1/2 of it with the back of a wooden spoon, leaving the other 1/2 in whole pieces. Gently stir in sage-butter mixture and stock. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spread 3/4 cup of ricotta mixture in a 9-cup baking dish. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1/2 of the butternut squash mixture over noodles. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1 cup of ricotta mixture over noodles. Repeat layering once more (noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta). Sprinkle Parmesan over ricotta mixture.
  6. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serves 8.

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