Flavorful Fall Vegetables Hit the Spot

As the temperatures dip, our desire for a warm, comforting meal increases. Fall veggies, like squash and pumpkin, offer the perfect chance for a delicious soup or dish.

| October 9, 2009

  • Gnocchi in three colors.
    Gnocchi in three colors.
    iStockphoto.com/Fotografia Basica
  • Butternut squash soup is the perfect autumn comfort food.
    Butternut squash soup is the perfect autumn comfort food.
    iStockphoto.com/Sarah Bossert

  • Gnocchi in three colors.
  • Butternut squash soup is the perfect autumn comfort food.

Hamilton Township, New Jersey –While autumn is largely marked by the changing of colors in the leaves, it is also a time of cooler weather, making it a perfect soup season.

“Fall is a great time to get back in the groove of cooking soup, after taking time off throughout the summer,” says John Kuropatwa, executive chef of Spigola Ristorante, in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. “There are many great soup ingredients that are in season right now, making them more affordable, accessible, and fresher-tasting.”

Vegetables that are typically in season during the fall include a variety of squash, mushrooms, pumpkin, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, and leeks. Any of these can make the base for a great-tasting autumn soup that can be served alongside a meal or, paired with a good, crusty bread, can be a meal on its own. Some popular soups for this time of year include potato, mushroom, pasta fagioli, onion, and butternut squash.

“The great thing about soup is that there is no right or wrong. You can pretty much use whatever you have on hand to make it, and it will still taste like you put a lot of thought into it,” adds Kuropatwa. “Having low-fat soup with your meals, or as your meal, a couple of nights per week is a great way to help fill you and warm you up while also getting more vegetables into your diet.”

Fall also brings pumpkins back to the forefront. Pumpkins –members of the gourd family, along with watermelon and squash – are an American pastime each fall. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins were produced in this country in 2008, at a value of around $141 million. While most families plan on getting a pumpkin this season, they are not always sure how to select a good one, or what to do once they have it home.

 “Pumpkins are a sign that we are heading into the holiday season,” says Kuropatwa. “But what is so exciting is that they provide so many opportunities to create great dishes that we don’t have year-round. It’s really a special time of year.”

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