Make a Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe for a Cozy Fall Dinner

When it comes to developing recipes, Melissa Clark is a master. She has written over three dozen cookbooks and has reported on food and written recipes for The New York Times since 2007. Despite this, there is always room to explore new recipes, cooking methods and tactics, which is how she challenged herself in her latest cookbook, dinner in onewhich consists of cooking using a single Dutch oven, a baking sheet or a casserole dish.

“I want people to cook every night and enjoy it and not be a huge stress,” Clark begins, noting that the stress of cleaning often deters people from wanting to cook. “I truly believe that if you enjoy cooking, even a little, you can find a way to make cooking dinner for your family enjoyable a few nights a week. I think it improves your mental health.

That’s certainly the case for Clark, who has viewed food as a loving form of communication that has enveloped him since childhood. “I grew up in a family where food was our love language,” she explains. “We care for each other and we showed it by cooking a great meal or throwing a party at a restaurant. When I came home from school, my mother would say, ‘How was your lunch?’ »

It’s something that stuck with Clark – the idea of ​​expressing love and understanding through the use of food – and she asks her husband daily what he ate for lunch, much to his annoyance. . “He’ll say, ‘My day went well, thank you, how was your day?’ she laughs. ” You do not understand ? Asking me what you ate for lunch is asking how you are.

Clark spent decades in the comforting arms of food and couldn’t imagine having a career anywhere else. “Food is so ingrained in my identity,” she says, pausing. “Listen, I even use food metaphors! I can not live without it.”

If cooking with just one kitchen utensil seems too Simple and the results less exciting than multi-step recipes that involve every kitchen gadget possible, Clark is here to prove the naysayers wrong. For her, flavor can easily be developed using a single griddle, as long as home cooks season well and are strategic about how they use their cookware. “I tell everyone in every recipe to mix the drippings into the veggies because that’s all the flavor and it will kick your dish up a notch and add a lot of flavor,” she says.

For dishes with less runny and schmaltzy components, it all depends on the toppings. Take Clark’s Baked Acorn Squash, for example, inspired by a squash fondue. “I wanted to make a quicker version of this so you just have roasted squash and then this melted cheese in a sauce, resulting in a very soft textured dish.” To give it some pep and crunch, she garnishes the dish with almonds sprinkled with chilli and finishes the squash with a drizzle of honey. “It’s sweet, warm, moist, crunchy. It’s just, for me, hitting all those notes,” she says. “I love this dish so much.”

There are so many simple maneuvers that elevate any dish. Sprinkling the almonds with chilli is one, but roasting the almonds would also work. Making a quick pickle, which adds flavor that cuts through the cheesy sweetness of the dish, is also fruitful. “It only takes 10 minutes and it creates an instant topping that adds brightness and freshness,” says Clark.

In the end, Clark’s mission with dinner in one is to help its readers find the pleasure of cooking. There’s no bullying in her cookbook, just encouragement and easy substitutions that make every recipe adaptable. “I’m always rethinking new recipes and coming up with new combinations and trying to keep everything simple,” she says. “Find the joy in cooking, because that’s what will keep you coming back to cooking.”