To roast root-cellar vegetables, you need an oven and an oven-safe pan. A cast-iron skillet works well, as does a Dutch oven, a glass lasagna pan or a cookie sheet. Just make sure that whatever youíre using wonít collapse under the weight of whatever youíre roasting. (You donít want to use a bit of tinfoil to support a pumpkin, for example.)
The best temperature for roasting is a matter of some debate. I like 400 degrees; itís hot and gets a good sear on the outside.
The legendary cookbook author Barbara Kafka advises roasting at 500 degrees, if you can stand it. The oven may smoke, burning off any little bits of oil or such that have spattered onto the walls from past uses, but Kafka argues that the exterior char on the vegetables is worth it.
I canít stand the smoke in the kitchen, which is why I stick with 400 degrees. But if you are braver, or have less-sensitive smoke alarms, go for it.
But first, to prepare your root-cellar bounty for the oven, youíll need just two basic ingredients: fat and salt.
Your body requires a little fat to digest vegetablesí fat-soluble vitamins, so toss your vegetables with a bit of olive oil, canola oil, duck fat, bacon drippings ó whatever you have. You basically want a thin film of oil on the exterior of any cut side, and any thin vegetable, to prevent rapid moisture loss, and also to prevent the vegetable from sticking to the pan.
From there, just add a sprinkle of salt. I like a big-flake sea salt, like Maldon, because the snowflake-like crystals allow me to see the salt without making the vegetables too salty.
Once youíve got your root-cellar veggies prepared, and your oven heated to at least 400 degrees, you can throw those babies in and cook until tender.
Next: what are the best autumn crops to roast, and how?