The holidays in my family are centered around family and amazing food. As first generation Italian-Americans we typically don’t do a turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and 20+ sides, but, the food is always exceptional and we have a great time!
I’m going to share some of the side dishes that have made it into my family’s holiday side dish hall of fame! The key to easy sides is to minimize prep time; the best way to do that is to keep the veggies whole so that no time is wasted cutting.
Sautéed Ravioli: Start with fresh or frozen ravioli. In a shallow sauce or sauté pan boil water the water will boil fairly quickly. Salt the water and place the ravioli in the water do so gently, the boiling water may splash. Allow the ravioli to cook through they will float to the top of the pan when they are done, ~3-4 minutes. Remove the done ravioli with a slotted spoon or hand-held strainer instead of draining them like you would normal pasta the ravioli are delicate and should be taken out gently. When they are all cooked, hold the ravioli off the heat and empty the pan of water.
Place the pan back on the heat and add olive oil. Allow the oil to heat through and then add the ravioli back to the pan. Gently toss them in the oil, so they are well coated. Sauté the ravioli over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes on either side until golden brown. Remove from the heat and serve with pesto or marinara sauce. If you find a butternut squash ravioli it will pair nicely with an peppery arugula pesto.
Roasted Baby Potatoes with Cippolini Onions & Rosemary: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Take about a pound or two (about a half pound per guest) of multicolored baby potatoes the smaller the better, shoot for about one inch in diameter. Use about half the amount of cippolini onions to potatoes. Peel the onions, while keeping their shape intact. Toss the potatoes and onions, with a drizzle of olive oil, enough to coat, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and place in the preheated oven. Roast ~35-50 minutes, toss occasionally, for an extra crunch broil for 5 minutes. Serve this side immediately; add lemon zest when the potatoes come out of the oven for an extra layer of flavor.
Asparagus with Parmigiano: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Choose thin asparagus; they thicker they are the more fibrous. Holding each end of one asparagus, snap it with your hand. Wherever it breaks, cut the reminder of the asparagus to the same length. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and place the asparagus on the parchment. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly grated parmigiano cheese. Roast for 15 minutes. Serve this side immediately; add shaved parmigiano to serve, use a vegetable peeler to shave the block of cheese into long strands.
Garlic Green Beans: Add cleaned/trimmed green beans to a shallow sauce pan (with a lid), add about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water to the pan. Place the lid on the pan and allow the liquid to come to a boil. Steam the green beans 3-4 minutes until they are bright green in color. Drain the remaining water, and place the pan back over medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss in sliced garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until garlic is cooked. Finish with lemon juice and lemon zest. Serve this side immediately; adding the lemon juice and zest at the end will help to the green beans retain their bright green color.
Honey Roasted Baby Carrots: Preheat the oven to 450°F. If available use a bunch of small carrots, these will cook more evenly and quickly than very large carrots. Place the carrots onto a parchment lined sheet pan or a glass baking dish. Toss the carrots with equal parts olive oil and honey, finish with salt and pepper. Place them in a single layer and roast for 20-30minutes until tender and golden. Serve this side immediately; add orange zest and cardamom when the carrots come out of the oven for extra layers of flavor.