Roasting is a quick, easy, hands-off technique with delectable results. Roasted vegetables have a wonderfully crisp, caramelized- at-the-edges outside and a sweet-soft inside. Serve them as a side dish or a main dish. You can also make them into soups, salads and pasta sauces or add them to chicken stock.
There are so many different vegetables that taste divine roasted. In the fall and winter, I love to roast a medley of butternut squash, beets, carrots, leeks, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes – whatever strikes my fancy at the Farm Stand. Cauliflower and broccoli are delicious roasted with garlic and finished with a little Parmesan. Cabbage can be roasted with everything from bacon to fennel seeds. In the spring, I roast tender asparagus drizzled with a little orange juice. In the summer, I turn to tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, and zucchini. Roasted potatoes are delicious any time of year. Herbs like thyme, rosemary and parsley add oomph. Ditto a dash of lemon juice.
Cut your vegetables into similar-sized pieces so they cook at the same pace, something with heft that you can still spear with a fork. (Too small and the veggies will shrivel rather than roast.) Arrange the vegetables and any herbs in a single layer in a flat roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil and then lightly toss the vegetables with your hands to coat them evenly. Cooking times vary for vegetables, so be mindful of the recipe directions. You may want to start some and add others later or use several different pans. Don’t overcrowd the pan; the vegetables can be close together but not touching. They need a little space to brown and cook properly so they develop that wonderful, rich, roasted flavor.