A Harvest-Inspired Meal to Welcome Autumn

A salad and rigatoni with pancetta, pumpkin & sage next to a bottle of California Olive Ranch Everyday extra virgin olive oil.

We love this time of year. Not only is our own olive harvest just a week away – the time of year we finally get to see the fruits of our labor become extra virgin olive oil! – but so many other crops are being harvested in California, too. The harvest season is rewarding, exhausting, busy, and celebratory, all at the same time. Thankfully, this means there is plenty of reason to prepare a special harvest-inspired meal.

This menu is simple, comforting, and filled with Autumn flavors. Our Everyday extra virgin olive oil is a perfect choice for both of these dishes, but both recipes would surely be delicious with a bolder oil too, like our Miller’s Blend.

Fall Green Salad with Apples & Pecans

This salad features a number of California Fall flavors. See if you can find local apples – Granny Smiths and other tart varietals work well under the subtle sweetness of the maple syrup in the dressing. Choose a very tender red leaf or red butter lettuce for this salad – the apples and pecans add plenty of crunch. If you’re making the salad ahead of time, prepare the dressing separately, coat the apple slices in a bit of lemon juice, and toss together just before serving.

Fall green salad with Apples, pecans, & an extra virgin olive oil dressing

serves 4, as a side

INGREDIENTS

for the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • salt & pepper

for the salad:

  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small apple, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Make the dressing: Add all dressing ingredients to the bottom of your salad bowl. Whisk, adding salt & pepper to taste.
  2. Assemble the salad: Toss the lettuce, apple slices, and pecans with the dressing. Serve immediately.

Six apples sitting in a bowl covered with burlap.

Rigatoni with Pancetta, Pumpkin, and Sage

This dish is everything we want for dinner in the Autumn months. It’s warm, creamy, filling, and has the perfect balance between sweetness and saltiness. Be careful not to over-season this recipe – the pancetta is salty on its own. We suggest pumpkin in this recipe – the most coveted October squash! – but butternut would be equally delicious.

Rigatoni with Pancetta, Pumpkin, and Sage. In the background there are two squash, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, sage, and parmesan cheese.

serves 4; adapted from Jamie Oliver

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz. pancetta, cubed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. fresh sage, sliced
  • 1 medium pumpkin or butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 cups rigatoni (or other tube-shaped pasta), dry
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

METHOD

  1. Add veggie stock to a saucepan and warm over medium-high heat while you cook the vegetables.
  2. Meanwhile, heat about 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add the pancetta and cook for about 1 minute. Add the shallots and sage, stir, and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the squash, then add the hot vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, until the squash is tender and some of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Only cook until al dente – 3-4 minutes less than the package directions – as the pasta will continue cooking when added to the sauce.
  5. When the pasta is done, reserve some of the pasta water and drain the rest. Add pasta to the vegetables, stirring gently, adding the reserved pasta water as needed. Stir and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the parmesan cheese, stirring until melted and creamy.
  7. Serve with additional cheese on top and fresh ground pepper, as desired.

Let these fall flavors bring warmth and joy to you and your friends and family. We hope you enjoy this delicious meal celebrating the California harvest and the beginning of this season’s extra virgin olive oil making! Our olive harvest begins very soon! Follow along and receive updates about our progress on this year’s California olive harvest by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media. Happy Autumn!