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Cooking for spring celebrations

Posted by Sheryl Julian  April 27, 2010 02:34 PM

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vegetarianstew.jpg
For years, when it was time to bring something to a spring celebration -- end of school gatherings, graduation parties, wedding showers -- I would get totally stuck. 

Then I figured out a big vegetarian stew made with zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, onion wedges, and made it more substantial with lots of cannellini beans. The recipe changes from year to year. Now I like to roast all the vegetables separately (you can combine the squashes), so they keep their shape and flavors. Then put them together to assemble the dish. It's a beautiful, satisfying meal.

Vegetarian stew for a crowd
Serves 12

6 medium onions, each cut into 6 wedges
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
6 zucchini, cut into 2-inch wedges
3 yellow squash, cut into 2-inch wedges
8 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
3 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini or other white beans (with their liquid)
2 jalapeno or other small hot peppers, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand 2 large rimmed baking sheets and 1 large (15 inch) ovenproof baking dish.
2. On 1 baking sheet, spread the onions, and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. On the other baking sheet, spread the tomatoes, and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Roast the sheets for 35 to 40 minutes or until both are tender. (The tomatoes will be done sooner than the onions.)
3. In the baking dish, spread the zucchini and squash, and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Cover with foil and cook for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
4. In a large skillet, combine the onions, tomatoes, cannellini or other white beans and their liquid, and jalapeno. Let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally, until it bubbles at the edges. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if  you like. Simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add the tomato mixture to the zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with thyme. Stir gently to mix the vegetables and beans. 
Note: Make in advance up to this point, but do not add the thyme. Leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate. Let the dish sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. If you cannot see any liquid in the dish, add 1/2 cup water and stir gently. eheat in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling at the edges. If the dish seems dry, add more water during reheating. Add the thyme. Sheryl Julian
About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.

Contributors

Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.
 

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