Two(!) New Recipes for Fall Entertaining

October 14, 2016 By Cathy — 12 Comments
Hosting a get together this fall? Get these two vegetarian dishes on the menu! Sweet and spicy acorn squash is autumn on a plate and saucy, cheesy eggplant stacks are great for sharing on football Sunday.

Sweet and Spicy Acorn Squash Wedges

Today is a lot of things. Really good things. It’s a two-fer, two recipes that is. It’s also my son’s 12th birthday (officially, even though we celebrated last week with his buddies) and it’s the start to one of the best weekends in the northeast. No, it’s not a holiday, but it is prime fall foliage season. We’re slipping into our hiking shoes, strapping on the Camelbaks and heading onto the trails of Mohonk Mountain to celebrate the season. Can’t wait!

You’ve heard me profess my love for the summer season again and again. Every year I think I’ll never stop mourning the loss of warm waves and sandy toes, but then I get swept up into the craziness of September. Before I know it, my mind is all apple, pumpkins and cozy sweaters and my summer allegiance has turned into a fall fixation.

Today I’m sharing two of my fall favorites for entertaining: sweet and spicy acorn squash and eggplant stacks. The acorn squash wedges make for a sweet and spicy side, easy enough for a weeknight and special and tasty enough for the holiday table. The squash is sliced into wedges and tossed in a spicy blend of chipotle, garlic, honey and soy. It’s roasted in a hot oven until it begins to brown and caramelize and can be easily pierced with a fork. My preference is to buy a slightly smaller acorn squash as it’s more manageable to cut. You’ll need a sharp knife and a little muscle as these babies can be stubborn. But once roasted, they are tender and delicious and worth a little elbow grease.

Eggplant Stacks

Now it’s on to my husband’s favorite, eggplant stacks. These don’t necessarily scream fall, but they’re one of our go-tos for football Sunday. They’re hearty, saucy, cheesy and perfect for sharing. I started making a much different version of these years ago following Mario Batali”s recipe. He layers mortadella and provolone in between two slices of eggplant, then dips the whole sandwich in egg wash and breadcrumbs and bakes it. We would stack them up on a plate alongside tomato sauce for dipping. But while they’re crazy good, they can feel a little heavy.

Eggplant StacksI prefer a lighter version using a quick roasted tomato sauce and bright, herb, no-nut pesto. I also use three eggplant rounds, so it becomes more of a tower and less of a sandwich. I find that breading and cooking the eggplant before stacking and baking gives these just the right texture. I love the crispy exterior and melt in your mouth interior of the fried eggplant rounds and sometimes a couple go missing before they can be stacked. Just saying…

You can serve these as a sharable small plate at a party, a first course at a dinner party or alongside a green salad for a vegetarian meal. And don’t be intimidated by all the steps, they’re pretty easy and so worth it in the end.

You can find these recipes and a little story about yours truly <shameless self-promotion> in Matters Magazine this week if you’re local to the Maplewood/South Orange area. I always look forward to receiving my copy in the mail and it’s an honor to be featured this month. So go grab your coffee and take a peak. I’m off to whip up a special dessert for the birthday boy and enjoy this gorgeous fall day!


Sweet and Spicy Acorn Squash Wedges

5 from 2 votes
Sweet and Spicy Acorn Squash Wedges
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Acorn squash gets sweet and spicy in this favorite fall side!
Course: Vegetarian Side Dish
Author: Cathy Roma |
  • 1 2lb acorn squash, halved, seeded and sliced into about 16 wedges
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce plus 1 tsp sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with non-stick foil (or foil sprayed with cooking spray.)
  2. Combine all ingredients (except squash) in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and blend until smooth. Alternatively, mince the chipotle and whisk together with the remaining ingredients until homogenous.
  3. Toss the wedges in the sauce, place on the baking sheet and drizzle with remaining sauce.
  4. Roast, turning the squash occasionally, until squash is caramelized and can be easily pierced with a knife, about 30 mins.

Eggplant Stacks

5 from 2 votes
Eggplant Stacks
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
Tender breaded eggplant is layered with roasted tomato puree, herb pesto and fresh mozzarella cheese in these tasty towers. Perfect for sharing!
Course: Small Plate
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Cathy Roma |
  • Eggplant
  • 1 medium eggplant 1 lb, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs plus 2 tsp water lightly beaten
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Kosher salt

  • Roasted Tomato Puree
  • 16 oz grape tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tsp kosher salt and pepper

  • Herb No-Nut Pesto
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves packed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley packed
  • 1/2 cup parmesan grated
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella in a ball, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese grated
  1. Eggplant: Line a sheet pan with paper towels and lay eggplant slices in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 15 mins.
  2. Dip eggplant slices in flour, then egg, followed by bread crumbs.
  3. Heat oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a large frying pan over med/high heat and lay eggplant slices in a single layer in the pan, taking care not to overcrowd.
  4. Fry the eggplant until golden brown, about 3 mins, then flip and fry until golden, an additional 3 mins.
  5. Remove from the pan and let drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
  6. Roasted Tomato Puree:Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a sheet pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper.
  7. Scatter tomatoes and oregano on the sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt and a few turns of black pepper.
  8. Roast until tomatoes are soft and caramelized, about 20 mins.
  9. Puree tomatoes and any juices in a food processor until blended, but still a little chunky.
  10. Herb (No-Nut) Pesto: Combine all ingredients in a food processor or mini prep and blend until smooth.
  11. Eggplant Stacks: Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment.
  12. Place one eggplant round on the sheet. Spread 1 Tbsp of roasted tomato puree on top, sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese and top with one slice of mozzarella. Lay another eggplant round on top and spread with 1 Tbsp of pesto. Lay a third round on top, spread with 1 Tbsp roasted tomato puree, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and top with a slice of mozzarella.
  13. Repeat with remaining eggplant rounds until all stacks are layered.
  14. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 mins. Serve hot.
Sweet and Spicy Acorn Squash Wedges
Eggplant Stacks

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Filed Under: Appetizers/Snacks, Blogging, Holiday, Main Dishes, Recipe, Sides


12 responses to “Two(!) New Recipes for Fall Entertaining”

  1. Oh my gosh, these recipes look to die for Cathy! That eggplant stack has my name all over it. And that squash! YUM!

  2. Sounds like you have a lovely weekend planned! I absolutely adore fall…it’s my fave. I love everything about it – clothes, weather, the food. All so good! Both of these recipes look delicious, Cathy! I wouldn’t no where to start, so I may have to make both of them to compare, lol 😀 Have fun this weekend!

  3. I can’t stop staring at that eggplant stack. My mouth is watering and I’m wishing I could reach right through the screen and grab one! And that squash? YES!

  4. Two fabulous recipes Cathy! Eggplant stacks are one of my faves. Love the write up in Matters Magazine! Happy birthday to Jack and hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Happy Birthday to your Jack! (I have one too) I love the Northeast foliage. We used to live in Boston and would head to Vermont every fall. I miss it! These eggplant stacks look so good and I have never had them. Will have to give these a try for sure. Congrats on your magazine spread! You deserve it!

  6. These eggplant stacks look so incredibly delicious and satisfying!! I totally get why they are perfect for football Sunday. Enjoy your hikes!! xoxo

  7. Football Sunday and husbands…. yep, I have to try this one. Love the duo combination. I am always looking for Sunday foodie ideas. The one day of the week for me to relax in the kitchen. Now I get to relax and adventure with these fab recipes.

    • Cathy says:

      We’re all about the eggplant in this house. Especially on football Sunday. And I’m much happier whipping these up in the kitchen than watching the game!

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