Butternut Squash

butternut

About Butternut Squash

The much beloved butternut squash is both dense and creamy, making it perfect for soups. But why stop there? Butternut is great roasted, in curries, and even used desserts.

While this squash is often a favorite among Americans for winter squash, it can be a little daunting to prepare. The thick skin of the squash isn’t edible and is usually peeled before cooking (although some do cook them whole). Cut off the top ‘neck’ of the squash from the ‘body’ on the bottom and think of them as two different parts for peeling and cubing.

Once you get it peeled and cut up, try some of these tasty recipes.

Recipes

Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Winter Squash Hash

butternut-hash

from The New York Times

Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 min

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1 ½ pounds winter squash, like butternut, halved, seeds and membranes scraped away
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, preferably small ones
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked black rice
  • Poached eggs for serving optional

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil, and lightly oil the foil. Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil, and set on the baking sheet with the cut sides down. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until easily pierced with a paring knife. Remove from the heat, allow to cool until it can be handled, and peel and dice.

While the squash is in the oven, trim away the bottoms of the brussels sprouts and cut into quarters.

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large, heavy skillet. Add the brussels sprouts. Cook, stirring often or tossing in the pan, until just tender and the edges are seared light brown, about five minutes. Add salt to taste, and stir in the scallions and garlic. Stir together for a few minutes until the scallions and garlic are fragrant. Stir in the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash has caramelized lightly, about 10 minutes. It’s fine if the squash falls apart in the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the dissolved tomato paste. Continue to cook, stirring, until the tomato paste has caramelized, about five minutes. The tomato paste mixture will no longer be visible, but there should be rusty-colored traces on the bottom of your skillet. Stir in the black rice. Heat through, taste and adjust seasonings, and serve, topped with a poached egg if desired.

Butternut Squash and Sage Latkes

butternut-latkes

from The New York Times

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

  • ½ medium onion, grated
  • 6 cups grated butternut squash (1 3-pound squash)
  • ¼ cup chopped or slivered fresh sage (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons oat bran
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • About 1/4 cup canola, grape seed or rice bran oil

Place the grated onion in a strainer set over a bowl while you prepare the other ingredients. Then wrap in a dishtowel and squeeze out excess water, or just take up by the handful to squeeze out excess water. Place in a large bowl and add the squash, sage, baking powder, salt and pepper, oat bran, and flour. Taste and adjust salt. Add the eggs and stir together.

Begin heating a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Place a rack over another sheet pan. Take a 1/4 cup measuring cup and fill with 3 tablespoons of the mixture. Reverse onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining latke mix. You should have enough to make about 30 latkes.

Add the oil to the pan and when it is hot (hold your hand a few inches above – you should feel the heat), use a spatula to transfer a ball of latke mixture to the pan. Press down with the spatula to flatten. Repeat with more mounds. In my 10-inch pan I can cook 3 or 4 at a time without crowding; my 12-inch pan will accommodate 4 or 5. Cook on one side until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Slide the spatula underneath and flip the latkes over. Cook on the other side until golden brown, another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the rack set over a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.

Serve hot topped with low-fat sour cream, Greek style yogurt or crème fraîche.

Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter

butternut-soup

from The New York Times

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 3-to-3 1/2-pound butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks
  • ½ cup thinly sliced carrots
  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • ½ cup thinly sliced onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 cups vegetable stock, more if needed
  • Bouquet Garni made of 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, all wrapped in a packet made of 2 green leek leaves
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the neck off the squash and set it aside. Cut the bulb in half and scoop out and discard seeds. Brush each half inside and out with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck a sprig of sage into each. Place cut-side-down on the baking sheet and roast until completely tender, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool, then scoop out and reserve the flesh (discard sage).

Meanwhile, using a paring knife, peel away the skin from the neck of the squash until you reach the bright orange flesh. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces (you should have about 4 cups).

Put the remaining canola oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat, add the leeks, carrots, shallots and onions and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes. Add the diced squash, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the garlic and squash from coloring. Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bouquet garni, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Add the roasted squash and simmer gently for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches, and purée. Strain the soup through a fine sieve into a bowl. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Let the soup cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place the crème fraîche in a small chilled bowl and stir in nutmeg to taste. Whisk until the crème fraîche holds a shape. Cover and refrigerate.

Gently reheat the soup until just hot. If it is too thick, add a little more vegetable stock. Heat a medium skillet over high heat. When it is very hot, add the butter and rotate the skillet over the heat as necessary to brown the butter evenly, scraping up any bits that settle in the bottom. As soon as the butter is a hazelnut brown, pour it into the pot of soup — keep a safe distance, it may sputter — then stir.

Ladle the soup into six serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of crème fraîche. Grind some black pepper over the top and sprinkle on the chives. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

Butternut Squash Kale Risotto

butternut-risotto

from Naive Cook Cooks

Yield: 4 servings

  • 3 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves,chopped
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup arborio rice
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 2.5 – 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup shredded Asiago cheese or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp thyme

In a pot, warm up vegetable stock and keep it aside.

Now in another pan, add butter. To it add butternut squash and add salt & pepper. Cook until its fully cooked and a bit caramelised. Transfer it to a plate.

Now to the same pot, add olive oil. Once warm, add garlic and onion and saute for few minutes. To it add rice and stir it around for 2-3 minutes. No add wine and cook it by stirring continously until wine is all absorbed. Now add ½ cup vegetable stock at a time and keep stirring. Once the liquid is absorbed, add another ½ cup. I ended up adding almost 2.5 cups of water by the time my rice was al dente.

Now once you find that rice is al dente that is cooked but still has a little bite to it, add salt, pepper,thyme, butter, cheese and mix.

Now add squash, kale and stir it around. If it feels too thick, add another ½ cup of water. Cook on low and taste and adjust seasonings.

Roasted Butternut Squash Spinach Dip

butternut-dip

from How Sweet Eats

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 sliced bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, chopped
  • 12 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the squash cubes on top. Toss with olive oil and maple syrup. Toss with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss, roasting for 15 minutes more until fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

When the squash is roasting, heat a large skillet (or even a pot!) over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until it is slightly crispy and some of the fat has rendered, then stir in the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 15 minutes so they onions begin to caramelize and the bacon is crispy. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh baby spinach to the skillet and gently toss. Cook until the spinach completely wilts.

In a large bowl, mash three quarters of the squash (saving a few cubes for garnish) until it resembles mashed potatoes. Add the softened cream cheese and mascarpone to the bowl and stir and mash until combined. Add the contents of the skillet – the bacon, onions, mushrooms, spinach and garlic, and stir until completely combined. Fold in the grated cheeses. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden and melty. Serve immediately with chips and crackers!

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