Hello Fall: The Final Grilled Family Dinner

Img_5446When the switch back to standard time shaved an hour off day light, it also shaved off a bit of the convenience of grilling dinner. Unless your rig is tricked out with task lighting that can cut through the darkness of an Autumn night, grilling is now relegated to mid-day on a weekend. And then when fall turns to winter, most of the country will bid grilling farewell for the next six months or so. We will also bid farewell to fewer dishes to wash, a clean stove, and all the other efficiencies of outdoor cooking.

So, with the realization that the season had just about put it’s foot down, this past weekend we took advantage of that last bonus hour of light and threw together an ad hoc family dinner built out of some kitchen staples we happened to have on hand: frozen shrimp, some weary brocollini and a sad little of head of radicchio (recipes below). If you time it right this weekend (and your farmer’s market and pantry oblige) you can whip up this or some variation in less than an hour. Grill a steak, chicken, whatever. For old times sake. That is if you hustle before it starts to get dark even earlier. If you’ve got one last grilled family dinner in you this year, share it with us.

The Shrimp (one pound of jumbo frozen, thawed under running water in a colander, drained)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh cracked pepper

Combine it all in a bowl. Grill over medium high heat until done.

The Brocollini and Radicchio
1/2 bound brocollini, each piece cut lengthwise to thin it out and let it grill more quickly
1 head radicchio, cut lengthwise into 8 or so pieces
olive oil
salt pepper

Combine in a bowl. Grill over medium high heat, turning occassionally, until radicchio is browned and tender, and the brocollini is slightly charred and softened a bit. It should be pleasantly al dente.

Pecorini Pasta (aka Cacio y Pepe)
You could use parmesan as well, but we luckily had a wedge of pecorino which gives that briny tang that distinguishes this classic Roman dish.

3/4 pound thin spaghetti
2 cups pecorino (or parm) grated
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
a heck of a lot of cracked black pepper
salt if necessary

cook spaghetti, drain, and combine with ingredients in bowl.

We served it all up in pasta bowls, mixing and matching the bites which all went together brilliantly. Violet had a little bit of everything and, typically, Desi only ate the pasta. But we always plate up everything, in the hopes that one day he’ll partake. Still waiting.
—Hugh

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