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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Fall Celebration Recipes

Sep 30, 2019 08:45AM

Photo: Prairie Wind Family Farm

“In the fall, the pace of farming slows somewhat. We’re able to host guests for dinner and gather groups for fall celebrations. These are some of my favorite fall recipes that are simple and flexible enough to use for entertaining or for weekly family dinners,” says Jen Miller of Prairie Wind Family Farm, in Grayslake.

Sausage, Swiss Chard and Beans Pasta

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

⅓ cup olive oil

2 sprigs rosemary

8 oz spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (or substitute with plant-based sausage)

1  15.5-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed, patted dry

¼ cup dry white wine

12 oz rigatoni

Kosher salt

8 cups (lightly packed) torn Swiss chard leaves

¾ cup finely grated Parmesan, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high.

Fry rosemary, turning, until crisp, about 2 minutes.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Photo: Prairie Wind Family Farm

Add sausage to same pot and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.

Add beans to pot and cook, tossing occasionally and mashing some beans with spoon, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Transfer about half of beans to plate with sausage.

Add wine to pot, bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with beans and add swiss chard and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Cook, tossing often, until swiss chard is wilted, pasta is al dente, and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes.

Add another ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add ½ cup cheese, tossing until melted and dissolved into a sauce. Thin with more pasta cooking liquid if needed.

Season with pepper and more salt if needed.

Add butter and toss to combine, then mix in reserved sausage and beans.

Divide pasta among bowls.

Crumble rosemary over top and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese.


Roasted Delicata Squash

Yields: 2 servings 

“Delicata are a favorite because you can eat the skin, flesh and the seeds! Once the squash is roasted, we add to salads or simply enjoy as a side dish,” Miller says.

1 delicata squash, depending on size

1 Tbsp olive oilsalt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Clean the delicata squash by running under warm water and scrubbing away dirt with your hands. If there are any hard spots on the squash, you can scrape them off with a butter knife.

With a sharp knife, cut delicata in half lengthwise.

With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard (you can save these and prepare them like pumpkin seeds if you wish).

Cut each delicata half into ½-inch segments, creating moon-shaped pieces that have slight bumps around the curve.

Add oil, salt and pepper to the pan. Toss squash into oil to coat.

Arrange the pieces in a single layer on a baking pan. Place in oven and roast 10 minutes.

Turn once and continue roasting, turning every 7 to 10 minutes until both sides of the squash pieces are golden brown and the texture is creamy to the teeth all the way through, about 25 to 30 minutes.


Asian Pear Green Salad

Yields: 4 to 6 servings 

2 tsp olive oil

1 large shallot, finely chopped (¼ cup)

3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1½ Tbsp honey

6 cups salad mix and/or head lettuce

1 medium Asian pear, cored and cut into matchsticks

½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (2 oz)

3 Tbsp shelled, toasted pistachios, chopped

Heat oil in small, non-stick skillet over low heat.

Add shallot, and sauté 4 minutes or until soft.

Remove from heat and stir in vinegar and honey.

Divide salad among four salad plates.

Top each serving with Asian pear matchsticks, cheese and pistachios, and drizzle with dressing.

Recipes courtesy of Jen Miller, of Prairie Wind Family Farm, which grows a wide variety of certified organic vegetables and pasture-raised hens for eggs, and provides fresh fruit to CSA members, delivered to north and western suburban locations, and area farmers’ markets. For more information, a schedule of farm events and to sign up for the winter harvest, visit