Thanks to Melissa’s Produce for providing the variety of squash!
Each year, I look forward to Autumn. Bring on shades of orange, red, and gold! Dig out the boots and sweaters! And best of all prepare for Fall flavors and foods. While pumpkin spice gets all the hype, I look forward to squash.
The three most popular squash types you’ll run into at your local grocery store are butternut, acorn or kabocha. All three can be interchanged for most recipes, and tend to appear in late summer/early fall. Acorn squash provides the sweetest flavor, with butternut a close second. Kabocha weighs in as the biggest variety growing up to 8 pounds. I tend to favor the medium-sized 2-3 pound sized for squash for most of my recipes.
Around September I tend to find a couple of butternut squashes at my local farmer’s market or a kind neighbor’s garden. They last for weeks on my counter, or even longer in a cooler, dry location. My favorite way to prepare them is to roast them on a sheet pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Pop them in a 400 degrees F oven for 20-30 minutes.
If I have time, I cut the squash flesh out of the rind and toss the seeds. I make inch-sized square chunks that caramelize beautifully in the oven. I keep these roasted, caramelized squash cubes in my fridge to add as a colorful topping to my spinach salad with a bacon vineagrette dressing, stir up with a cheesy pasta entree, or place atop my favorite risotto recipe with some fresh sage pan-crisped with butter.
If I’m pressed for time, I slice the entire squash in half, scrape out the seeds and then cut into 4-6 big slices. When roasted this way, I get less crunchy surface area so I scrape out the cooked squash and use as side dishes for roasted meats similar to sweet potatoes, or puree with some sage for a ravioli filling or a sauce for a bag of frozen gnocchi.
Butternut, Acorn and Kabocha Squash are a great source of vitamins A, B6 and C. I haven’t tried it myself but I had a friend puree it into the cheese sauce for her kids’ macaroni and cheese sauce. The sweetness and color made it a perfect healthy sneak attack that they never detected. My kids have been eating it since they were young, and don’t need it hidden but I like the idea of incorporating it to make everyday dishes even healthier.
Check out my friend’s blogs for delicious Squash recipes!