This is one of those master recipes that will serve you throughout your life, with kids at the table or not. You see, if you take just about any vegetable with a seasonal vibe (butternut squash, potato, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans), toss them with some oil, salt and pepper, and herbs, and then roast the heck out of them, they will become gorgeously, toastily, unctuously roasty. In summer or spring, you could do this with any firm vegetable such as carrots, fennel, or beets. A bit of Yukon gold or fingerling potato can add a starchy richness. Cook just one vegetable or play with combinations.
Makes 4 servings
6 cups or so of your chosen vegetables, chopped or separated into [3/4]-inch pieces (butternut squash, cauliflower, halved Brussels sprouts, whole green beans, broccoli florets, or the like)
A few peeled garlic cloves
A few sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 425 F. On a large cookie sheet or roasting pan, toss the vegetables in just enough oil to lightly coat. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and toss again. Spread out in one layer, not crowding it too much (you don’t want it steaming; you want it sizzling and roasting). If you’ve got too many vegetables for one pan, put them on two pans, or roast in two batches.
Put it in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender, a bit browned. Taste about 15 minutes into cooking. If the veg is too tough, too dry, or too bland, add a bit more oil and salt and let it cook longer. After that, taste every 5 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they’re tender, rich, and intensified in flavor.
[This recipe is excerpted from the Gastrokid Cookbook, published by Wiley and to be published in August. Order your copy now.]