This fall/winter Roasted Vegetable Antipasto is a terrific starter or side dish for a holiday feast or dinner party. An exciting platter of colorful vegetables, cooked to perfection with sweet and sour onions, seared asparagus, and roasted rings of winter squash, carrots and fennel.
In July my husband Eddie and I travelled to the beautiful Amalfi Coast for our 25th wedding anniversary. If you follow this blog you probably read about our Italian cooking vacation. We had cooking class every morning from ten till noon and then ate the delicious three or four course lunch that we had created. But that didn't stop us from going out to dinner every night.
One of my main goals when I travel is to find great restaurants and experience the local cuisine. I always return from vacation recharged with new cooking inspiration. We had some amazing food on our trip and I took notes (actually I took iPhone photos). This roasted vegetable antipasto recipe was inspired by a dish I had at a wonderful restaurant we discovered on our trip called Il Ritrovo.
Il Ritrovo is perched 1,500 feet up the cliff from Positano, in the little town square of Montepertuso. It's a charming restaurant with a stunning view down to the sea.
We ordered grilled octopus, eggplant parmesan and a grilled vegetable antipasto. Everything was outstanding but I have a thing for well executed vegetable dishes and the antipasto (pictured below) blew me away. I loved the rustic simplicity of the dish, a big beautiful plate of healthy grilled vegetables drizzled with good olive oil and balsamic. Heavenly!
My first weekend back home, here's what I made for a casual dinner with friends (iPhone photo below) - my own version of Il Ritrovo's grilled vegetable Antipasto (pre oil and balsamic drizzle).
Next, I created this fall-winter vegetable antipasto with squash, carrots, fennel, asparagus and onions.
This one was so delicious, I had to share it here on the blog.
LET'S MAKE THIS ROASTED VEGETABLE ANTIPASTO!
There are several steps to this recipe but all the veggies can be prepared a few hours ahead of time. They are delicious at room temperature!
The Agrodolce Onions
The centerpiece of the antipasto is Italian sweet and sour agrodolce onions. Here's how you make them:
- Boil small white onions for a few minutes, which makes it easy to pop them out of their skins.
- Sauté the onions in olive oil with sugar and balsamic, to create a thick, caramelized sweet and sour sauce. Just wait until you taste these. They are beyond amazing!!
The Roasted Fennel and Carrots
The fennel and carrots are tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and fennel seeds, and roasted in a 400ºF oven for 30 minutes. Here's how to prepare the fennel:
- Cut the fennel bulbs in half lengthwise and carefully cut out the little triangular core piece from each half.
- Cut each half down the middle, through the hole where the core was.
- Pull off any brown or bruised outer leaves.
- Cut each fennel quarter into ¼-inch thick slices, lengthwise
The Delicata Squash Rings
Delicata squash is a Winter squash aptly named for its delicate, edible skin. I love cutting into rounds - it looks so festive. Here's how to prepare it:
- Cut the ends off the squash and cut the squash in half crosswise.
- Now you have two smaller sections of squash so you can dig in from both sides with a spoon, to scoop out the seeds and hollow out each section.
- Once the pieces of squash are hollow, slice them crosswise into thin rings.
ARRANGE THE VEGETABLE ANTIPASTO ON A PLATTER
There are no rules here. Be creative and have fun!
I really enjoyed arranging and rearranging the vegetables. The colors and shapes are fabulous. There are so many possibilities! Wouldn't this roasted vegetable antipasto be beautiful for Thanksgiving?!