Curtis Stone’s Delicious Dishes of the Autumn Harvest

The change of seasons is a tricky time for me, saying goodbye to the fruits and vegetables I’ve fallen in love with using again. Thankfully, there is an overlap between the summer and fall harvest seasons. Some of the best-tasting tomatoes are ripe and ready at the end of September, with earthier squashes and beets soon to follow. By using as many fresh ingredients as possible, you’ll keep meals light and healthy. I milk all I can out of the summer season and love using tomatoes and zucchini in salads, soups, gratins, and pasta.

A quick pasta entrée, Fettuccine with Shrimp and Fresh Tomato Sauce is a guilt-free comfort food with ripened tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and chile peppers that hits all the right notes — tangy and sweet with just a touch of spicy heat. Look for red jalapeños, which are sweeter than the green ones and marry well with the tomatoes.

The weather is still warm enough to fire up the grill and enjoy Grilled Zucchini with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar. The chile and garlic add a nice zip to the dish, while basil and balsamic add a touch of sweetness. A generous portion of the recipe can stand alone as a vegetarian entrée that you can serve with grilled bread and goat cheese.

Editor’s note: Look for the award-winning chef as head judge of Top Chef Junior on Universal Kids.

Fettuccine with Shrimp and Fresh Tomato Sauce

Bowl of fettuccine
(Photo by Ray Kachatorian)

(Makes 4 servings)

Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add fettuccine and cook, stirring often to keep strands from sticking together, for about 8 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite. Meanwhile, heat large heavy skillet over ­medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, then add shrimp and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until opaque around edges. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add shallots, garlic, and peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until shallots soften. Add wine and simmer for about 2 minutes, or until reduced slightly.

Drain pasta well, add to shrimp mixture, and toss gently to coat with the sauce. Add tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, butter, and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss again to melt the butter and coat pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss well. Divide pasta and shrimp among four pasta bowls and serve.

Per serving

Grilled Zucchini with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar

Grilled slices of zucchini in a bowl.
(Photo by Quintin Bacon)

(Makes 4 servings)

Preheat barbecue for high heat. Coat zucchini with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill zucchini until just charred but still firm, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer grilled zucchini to large baking sheet and set aside until cool. Cut zucchini slices diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and then add chile and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add zucchini pieces and toss until warm and then pour in vinegar and toss to coat. Add basil leaves and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Make-Ahead: The zucchini can be grilled 1 hour ahead, cooled, covered, and kept at room temperature.

Per serving

Roasted Salmon and Beets with Herb Vinaigrette

Roasted salmon covered with herbs on a wooden cutting board
(Photo by Ray Kachatorian)

(Makes 4 servings)

Preheat oven to 450°F. On baking sheet, toss beets with 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange beets in center of baking sheet, forming bed large enough to hold salmon. Roast beets for about 20 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Place salmon on top of beets. Brush salmon with 1/2 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.

In large bowl, mix parsley, chives, and tarragon. Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of mixed herbs over salmon. Roast salmon for about 15 minutes, or until cooked to medium-rare doneness so it is slightly rosy in center. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, whisk remaining 4 tablespoons oil, shallots, lemon zest, and juice into remaining mixed herbs. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Toss mixed greens with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Drizzle remaining dressing over and around salmon and beets and serve greens alongside.

Per serving

“Fettuccine with Shrimp and Fresh Tomato Sauce” and “Grilled Zucchini with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar” are excerpted from What’s For Dinner? by Curtis Stone. Copyright ©2013 by Curtis Stone. “Roasted Salmon and Beets with Herb Vinaigrette” is excerpted from Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone. Copyright © 2015 by Curtis Stone. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

This article is an expanded version of the interview that appears in the September/October 2018 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.