14 January 2010

recipe roundup: winter squash

During Winter, I cook a lot of squashes. I love Fall food, and I really love squash. As the weather cools, I eagerly look forward to the Butternuts, Delicatas, Kabochas, and others. First, they're incredibly beautiful, like edible sculpture. But, as for eating, they're really versatile and so satisfying on cold, foggy days. Oh yeah, and they're very nutritious.

So, in the spirit of the season, I thought I'd put together a little annotated list of my current favorite winter squash dishes. But I do have an ulterior motive: How do you like to eat them? I'd love to hear your favorite recipes.

My Current Top 5 (or 6) Squash Recipes:

Roasted Squash Salad (recipe: 101 Cookbooks) -- Beginning with one of my most recent favorites, this is a wonderfully satisfying vegetarian dish. I made a big batch, took some to work, fed some to Jacky and then did it all over again. It works easily with substitutions: I swapped in red quinoa for the wild rice, kabocha squash for the pumpkin, pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower, and agave nectar for the honey. I also did a batch where I roasted the red onions with some balsamic vinegar--DO that. (They're sticky and good enough to gobble up straight from the oven.) Even with all these tweaks, this is a solid concept for using up a humongous, nutritious squash.

Butternut Squash Soup (recipe: Martha Stewart) -- With a whole bunch of ginger, this is a wonderfully warming version of a pretty much ubiquitous soup. Before I gave birth, I made a big pot of it and squirreled portions away in the freezer. I was very happy later. And, what's better, I recently found a stray portion in the back of our current freezer... a wonderful surprise on a cold day.

Roasted Seeds -- From the same recipe as above, but hardly requiring instructions. Basically, if you're going to the work of cutting open a squash and scooping out the seeds, your best bet is to spread them out, salt 'em, spice 'em, and roast 'em. They're great on everything, from soup to salad to... goat cheese canapés? bbq'd fish? savory tarts?

Butternut Squash Gnocchi (Recipe: Sunset) -- Pretty straightforward concept, and these are simply delicious. Worth a try.

Butternut Squash Pizza (recipe: Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook, paraphrased here by me) -- Indulgent and nutritious. What more could you ask for? If you go to the trouble of trying the Chez ST&F pizza dough recipe, put this one on your list.

Pumpkin Butter (recipe: Smitten Kitchen) -- This is one of those "once a year" type of recipes... so delicious, but woah... a ton of sugar. Also, it's actually made with canned pumpkin. But, it's SO good. With all the warming spices, it's the perfect thing to make in Fall or Winter, gobble it up and repeat the next year. Bonus in the recipe post is the knock-out granola recipe also therein. If you make the pumpkin butter, make the granola... and combine them as instructed. In the dark days of Winter, it's a valid reason to get out of a warm bed.

Squash Recipes I Have My Eye On:

Kabocha Squash Soup (recipe: Mark Bittman, NY Times)

Butternut Squash Risotto (recipe: Ina Garten, via Food Network)

Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew (recipe: Bon Appetit)

Winter Squash Soufflé (recipe: Gourmet)

Anise-Spiced Squash Soup with Fennel Chips (recipe: Gourmet)

Squash-y Thoughts, Not Yet Fully Formed:

Squash Galette: Take the concept of a potato galette--an easy but impressive-looking dish--but construct it out of thin slices of Butternut squash. I'm not 100% certain it'll work just as well, as potato starch is key to the original. But, perhaps worth a try?

Squash Latke: Pretty obvious: add some grated squash to delicious fried potato latkes. I've seen recipes including sweet potatoes, so why not squash? You could probably tweak the seasoning in a deliciously sage-y direction, too.

Squash-wrapped Salmon: Another squash-potato swap-out. The original goes like this: take a beautiful filet of wild salmon and wrap it in mandoline-thin slices of a starchy potato. Sear in a lightly oiled pan and finish in a hot oven. Crispy, delicate, delicious. So, what if you had a HUGE butternut squash (as I did recently) and could get some big, wide slices out of the neck portion? Perhaps you could wrap some paper-thin slices around the filet and achieve a little more flavor (and nutrition) than the original? Perhaps with some Moroccan spices?

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara: Essentially a skinnied-up version of the original.

Other things to do with a squash:

Save the seeds: So you can grow your own. Basic instructions here.

Take some photos: Winter squash are almost too beautiful to eat. Luckily, they keep for a long time, so you can enjoy them as decor for a while. Until you savagely hack into them with a cleaver. Or maybe that's just me.

So, how about your winter squash recipes and ideas? I need more ideas... 10 days of rain are on the way!


  1. HEy Blakey...
    I hope you guys aren't washing away like us. I thought of you on a HouseHunters episode. It looks like where you all live. Anyways, I put a link to your WinterGreens and Chorizo pizza on my blog and I used your pic. I hope you don't mind. xoxo

  2. wow! what an informative post, I love all those recipe ideas! I too, am a fan of squash and love the new ideas!

  3. Hi Sara! Thanks for stopping by... and alerting me to your fabulous blog!


Related Posts with Thumbnails