For the love of autumn {Tortellini with squash + Romaine pomegranate salad}

It’s been a very glorious fall here in NYC: sunny days, slight crispness in the air, blue skies, white fluffy clouds, cozy evenings—pure gorgeousness.

It’s my favorite time of year to do simple things that make me happy: stroll around New York with my daughter, sit in a cafe and sip coffee or tea, and pick up goodies at market and specialty food shops.

Which is how dinner came to be last night.

I’d bought:

  • squash and sage at the Union Square Greenmarket
  • Middlebury Blue Cheese from Blue Ledge Farm in Middlebury, VT at Murray’s Cheese
  • pomegranates from Fairway
  • and tortellini made that day at Eataly

I’m a sucker for great ingredients and if you’re ever coming to NYC, I compiled my favorite food stores in this app: NYC iFoodShop.

These, combined with only a few extra ingredients, turned into a colorful and satisfying dinner—I love the combination of the earthy blue with the crunch of the romaine and pomegranate seeds that pop open like candy. This meal complements this time of year, when the warmth of summer is only slightly behind us and the coldness still seems far ahead. Yet, I know how time progresses so quickly and soon it will be winter. For now I am living in the moments of this season—and cooking with seasonal ingredients grounds me in the here and now.

Enjoy, with one of my favorite Billie Holiday songs: Autumn in New York.

Romaine salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 2 pomegranates
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 2 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1/2lb blue cheese

Directions

In a food processor whip the the seeds from 1 pomegranate plus the oil, vinegar, pepper and garlic. Then strain.
Chop the lettuce, then mix with the vinaigrette. Add seeds from remaining pomegranate. Top with crumbled blue cheese.

Tortellini with roasted butternut squash + fried sage

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly-ground pepper
  • 10-12 sage leaves
  • 1lb tortellini (your choice, I've used pumpkin in this recipe)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable or chicken stock
  • Parmesan (to taste)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss the squash with the onion and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil then sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until caramelized.

Cook the tortellini until al dente.

Heat about 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the sage leaves until the oil stops sizzling and the edges are crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

Add the squash mixture and tortellini to a skillet. Add the stock. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and toss with Parmesan. Garnish with fried sage.

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