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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Learning to Love Squash

by Badhuman

I want to like squash because it's local and it's seasonal and its relatively easy to grow but the reality is I don't really like squash- any squash. I think it's the consistency... I don't like creamy soups which is a common use for squash and I don't like it in big chunks... Butternut squash is okay mashed in with potatoes but not spectacular. But I haven't given up hope and even I can say this is a pretty good pasta recipe, butternut squash and all!

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It's relatively simple to make although it does take a little time to roast the vegetables.

Ingredients:

- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper (don't go to light on the salt and pepper or the overall effect will be too sweet)
- 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
- 1 pound farfalle pasta (I used whole wheat)
- 3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (quality matters because the sharp/salty taste of the cheese balances out the sweet of the squash)

Step 1:
Heat the oven to 375°. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds the middle cavity. Flip the squash halves upside down and peel them. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.

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Step 2:
Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash. Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.

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Step 3:
Heat salted pasta water to boiling and cook the farfalle until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Step 4:
As the squash finishes roasting, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided sauté pan. Drop in the rest of the sage leaves and fry for about a minute, or until they begin to just shrivel up. Remove with a slotted spoon and salt lightly. Crush with the back of a spoon.

Step 5:
Cook the pasta and squash mixture in two batches so there is enough room in the pan for the pasta to be pan fried versus steamed. Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the pasta is heated through and getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Stir in the cheese and serve.

Recipe originally posted here.

What's your favorite squash recipe?

15 comments:

K said...

Oh, I love squash! I'm right now trying to NOT order a gazillion different varieties for the garden ;)

This past weekend, I cooked a spaghetti squash, and tossed it with some cooked sausage and tomatoes, along with a few herbs and Parmesan cheese. Very good, and you can just leave out the sausage for a vegetarian option, maybe replacing it with more veggies (sweet peppers, onion, etc.).

I've also done a roasted root veggie soup: squash and carrots, onions and a few garlic cloves, roasted in the oven until tender, then pureed with broth (chicken or veggie) until it's the texture you want, and add some salt, pepper and herbs (curry powder is quite good, as is a combo of cumin and chili powder).

Then there's always the "cut in half, add butter and brown sugar and bake" method.

So much squash, so little time...

Sadie said...

I have a hard time liking plain squash too. I do good with it pureed/grated in baked goods- muffins, pancakes, bread. I have a great squash yeast bread. I can do zucchini....sauteed with onions in tortillas and grated in 'poorman's crabcakes" and others. I am hoping to learn to like roasted/baked butternut at least....

Michelle said...

do you like sweet potatoes? like sweet potato casserole? you can use squash the same way.

spaghetti squash is great in alfredo sauce with parmesan cheese on top. yum.

and butternut squash with ricotta in ravioli under a cream sauce is heaven.

good luck on your quest!

KiraAJ said...

OOOO i LOVE any kind of squash! This last summer and fall i had some sort of squash in almost everything i cooked! :) and i have a storage in my freezin cold garage with 3 baskets of sweet potato squash, sweet dumplin squash and butter nut squash! And i have 4 spaghetti squash left from my local veggie stand up town! I love roasting them, braising them in an apple chicken potato rosemary and thyme braise :)

Melanie said...

definitely butternut squash risotto. I'll have to hunt down my recipe.

Emily said...

I never liked squash growing up, but I've started trying different varieties and have gradually come around. Buttercup/Kabocha and hubbard are probably my favorites-they're a lot sweeter and more sweet potato-ish than some of the sqashier selections like Acorn. I slice Kabocha into thin wedges and roast it in the oven--it's really easy because you can eat the thin skin. Keep trying to like it!! It's definitely worth it. :)

Simple in France said...

Oh yay! I was trying to make a squash sauce earlier this year and it was good . . .but yours sounds better! The only thing that I can't get over is that I can't seem to find fresh sage in France! I can't believe it. I'm going to have to find a way to grow my own.

Siân said...

The pasta looks lovely!

And I was just the same, trying to make myself like squash! I think the reason I wasn't enthralled was its sweetness, pairing it with mushrooms can counteract that, like this recipe:

http://optimistafterlunch.blogspot.com/2009/11/crusty-pumpkin-and-mushroom.html

Hathor's Bath said...

I remember when there was a load more squash in the UK than in recent years; all you seem to be able to get right now is butternut, and I'm bored with it! However, I enjoy making a meat-squash curry with a splash of coconut milk and cilantro, and when the pumpkins are in, I merely cut them up, chop red onion and a bit of bacon, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh sage and roast - you can eat the lot, even the skin, this way!

thesimplepoppy said...

Eating local at this time of year does mean a lot of winter squash. And while I like squash the family feels a little differently. Everyone does love butternut squash pizza, because it's awesome. I saute onions and chunks of butternut together with salt until soft. I spread sour cream over homemade pizza dough. Spread butternut/onion mixture over that. Then I top it with arugula and cheese and bake.

Chile said...

I use 1/2 to 1 cup of pureed cooked squash (roasting brings out its best qualities) in a vegan "cheese" recipe for macaroni 'n cheese. I'm sure it could be snuck into other sauces, vegetarian or not, for added color and nutrition. Perhaps using a small amount to thicken a soup, but not making it into a creamy soup might be another alternative for you.

s said...

That's so funny, I just made that recipe last night for the dark days challenge! I can't remember how I ran into the recipe originally, but I've made it a few times, its a keeper!

Another good squash use if you don't like the sweeter soups, is to combine it with potatoes (and maybe a little bacon) for a more savory version. More depth of flavor than a regular potato soup...

Happy Mama said...

Oh, I can relate to this! I want to eat it more - it's fairly cheap for such a large veg, it's filling, it's brightly coloured etc
But...
I find it so blah! And so sweet.
I do enjoy it in a soup with a bit of spiciness.

Also, I do a sort of spicy bake with it. I chop it up with some onion and potato cubes and stir it all up with olive oil and cinnamon/ ginger/ garam masala/ curry powder. I throw that it in the oven for a while. Then I mix up an egg, some milk and some strong cheese (parmesan or extra mature cheddar), pour it over and give it another half hour in the oven.

It's one of the only pure veg-y dishes that my husband enjoys.

Thanks for this recipe, I'll give it a go!
Karen (Scotland)

Jess @ Openly Balanced said...

Yay - another squash hater! I can't stand squash and I need to learn to love it. I am going to try to grow some this year, but haven't been able to stop thinking, "... but what am I going to do with it once I grow it? Ew." Now I'll have a few more things to try.

Kara said...

Butternut squash is called "butternut pumpkin" here...and it make a really wonderful (American) pumpkin pie! :) When I first moved from Illinois to Australia, I introduced my new friends and family to sweet pumpkin pie using butternut, and it was much richer and sweeter than the pie you make with the tinned pumpkin you get in the States (which you CANT get here!). Simply bake or steam the butternut, then remove skin and seed (roast the seeds for a snack!) and mash, then use as you would tinned pumpkin. You can also use this mash to make a lovely cream of pumpkin soup (follow a cream veg. soup recipe). The mash can also be used to make lovely pumpkin scones (biscuits), cakes and pancakes...and makes a really nice "pumpkin pie ice cream" too!