MENU: A Vegetarian Harvest Dinner

For an elegant fall dinner party, let the season's hearty vegetables take center stage with a completely meat-free menu featuring leek and potato soup, brussels sprouts and kale salad, and a satisfying farro and butternut squash risotto. For dessert, a wine-rich apple tart is a lovely finish served with freshly whipped cream.


THE MENU


PLANNING TIPS
  1. Everything on this menu can be made up to several hours before serving except the gougères, which are best fresh out of the oven. Put them out just as your guests arrive along with cocktails and the beets with walnuts and cheese.

  2. Each dish on this menu is best enjoyed in small portions on its own: Serve the soup as the first course, followed by the Brussels sprouts and kale salad, then the risotto.

  3. To add subtle sweetness to the farro risotto, try using corn stock in place of the vegetable stock.

  4. After cocktails, switch to wine for dinner. The brightness of a New World Sauvignon Blanc, such as Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (2011), complements the earthiness and deep the vegetal flavors of the meal.

  5. For more fall and winter salads, browse our recipe collection »


RELATED: Apple Desserts and Drinks »

Maxime Iattoni RECIPE: Farro Risotto
This wintry risotto from Yewande Komolafe is rich with butternut squash, mushrooms, and sage. The farro remains perfectly springy and al dente, creating a nice contrast to the softer textures in the dish. For best results, use a flavorful homemade, or good quality store bought stock.
SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS
2½ cups butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sage, chopped
1 cup farro (pearled or semi pearled)
3 tbsp. butter
4 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme
½ cup white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1½ cups shredded parmesan
1 tbsp. crème fraiche

RELATED: Hearty Pasta Sauces »

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes until the edges are browned and crisp. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle 1 tablespoon sage over the still hot squash.

2. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over medium heat. Stir in your farro and cook for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and set aside.

3. In a 4 quart pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add in the chopped shiitakes and sauté, about 3 minutes, remove from pan and set aside.

4. Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add in the shallots, garlic and thyme. Let cook until the shallots become slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the farro and stir, coating each kernel with butter. Add in the white wine and let simmer off.

5. Turn the heat down to low and begin alternately adding in the chicken stock and the farro cooking liquid, a ¼ cup at a time, stirring continuously with each addition. Do not add more liquid until the previous ¼ cup has been completely absorbed by the farro. This process should take about 25-30 minutes. After the last addition, stir until about ⅔ of the liquid has been absorbed, and add in the mushrooms and roasted squash.

6. Fold in the cheese and stir until just melted. Fold in the crème fraiche and remaining chopped sage for garnish, season with salt and pepper.

RELATED: Simple Fall Dinners »

Helen Rosner RECIPE: Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
A simple salad of raw shredded kale and Brussels sprouts is a refreshing variation on cold weather's ubiquitous vegetables.
SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped
2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper

RELATED: Pear Recipes »

INSTRUCTIONS
1.Trim the woody ends off the Brussels sprouts. In a food processor fitted with the shredding disc, process sprouts until uniformly shredded. (If you don't have a food processor, you can slice the sprouts using a mandoline, or very finely by hand.)

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add the kale and shredded Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper

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