As the leaves fall off the trees and create a breathtaking world of color, all the wonderful types of squash come into season!
A quick Google search yields some interesting squash facts:
The word “Squash” is derived from a Narragansett Indian word “askutasquash” which when roughly translated means eaten raw or uncooked, which is curious…doesn’t appeal to me uncooked but who knows maybe we can try an original recipe incorporating raw squash soon!
Another interesting fact is that every part of the squash plant is edible including the vines and flowers.
Finally, and a GREAT fact is the squash is mostly made up of water, so not a high calorie food, but does pack a punch of vitamins A and C and minerals Calcium and Iron!
This time we are going to work with two of my favorites, butternut and acorn.
We will start with a butternut squash recipe courtesy of http://www.jessicagavin.com/test-kitchen/rice-noodles/butternut-squash-macaroni-and-cheese/
Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Whole wheat elbows
Whole wheat panko bread crumbs
I first caramelized the onions and minced garlic in olive oil (substituted for butter) until pleasantly browned. Instead of using broth to boil the chopped and peeled butternut squash, I used water with a few tablespoons of tarragon added. When the squash was tender and cooled, I combined the onion mixture with the squash mixture, milk, and about a ½ cup of the tarragon water and blended in my ninja blender until creamy.
I boiled the whole wheat elbows, and layered them in a casserole dish with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped fresh parsley. I then poured the squash mixture on top of the layered elbows and cheese. Finally, using olive oil again in lieu of butter, toasted several cups of breadcrumbs and topped the casserole in its entirety.
Baked in the oven until cheese melted, about ½ hour at 350.
This recipe gets a 5 for all except presentation.
Super easy, the most difficult part was chopping the large butternut squash which can sometimes be a challenge.
Taste was definitely a five, creamy and full of flavor
Presentation, at least my presentation was only a 3, looks delicious but could be dressed up for a meal in little crocks to give it a 4 or a 5.
My acorn squash is an original recipe that I will call:
Spicy and Sweet Stuffed Acorn Squash
Skim mozzarella cheese
Canned fire roasted tomatoes
Red, green, and yellow sliced bell peppers
Sweet Italian sausage
I began by cutting the acorn squash in half, removing seeds, and roasting it in the oven on 350 for about an hour and twenty minutes, until it came easily out of the skins.
While the squash was roasting I sautéed the chopped Italian sausage (I used regular sausage this time, but could be done with chicken or turkey sausage) in olive oil and minced garlic. When the sausage was almost cooked through, I added the tomatoes in their juice, peppers, chopped fresh kale, and olives and continued to sauté until the peppers were tender.
I removed the squash from the oven and scooped it from its skin into a large bowl, returning the skins to the casserole dish. I added the sausage mixture to the squash and mixed thoroughly. Next I filled the bottom of the squash skins with mozzarella cheese, oregano and tarragon. I scooped the squash and sausage mixture into each skin and then topped with additional mozzarella cheese. Baked at 350 until the cheese was melted about ½ an hour.
This recipe hits a 5 on ease, taste, and presentation.
Preparation is a little time consuming, but nothing is difficult and you could use a Kitchen Aide mixer to combine the squash and sausage mixture, but I mixed it thoroughly with just a large slotted spoon.
The taste is spectacular could even be a 6, very full of flavor and filling.
Presentation also a 5 looks very pretty on the plate and could be served in halves as an entire meal or could be cut into quarters for a side dish.
Enjoy the beautiful world of color, because as we know pretty soon the red, yellow, and orange brilliance will be covered in white!!!!!
Next time we will take on some new dishes to add to your Thanksgiving Feast!!!!