Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roasted Squash


Do you ever go to the grocery store and come home with something, only to later wonder what on Earth you were thinking? I did that the other day--I came home with 2 acorn squash, with no plan in mind, and no way to use them up in the near future.

And then it got to the point where they were staring at me, begging to be used, and threatening to go bad; I had a heavy work week coming up, and knew that the squash had to be cooked on this one particular night if they were ever going to get cooked. However, I had spent a long time on a lasagna, and was therefore not feeling up to an elaborate preparation, so I just cut up the squash, simply seasoned them, and roasted them alongside the lasagna.

I didn't even peel the squash, as I didn't feel that my fingers or my knives could handle it on that particular day. You'll see in the pictures that the acorn squash are cut into crescents with the skin intact. I later simply scooped them out of their skins and ate them with a little bit of agave syrup.

Although I ate the squash straight out of their skins, I also could have removed the skins, made a puree, and eaten the squash that way. I also could have used the puree to stuff some ravioli, or I could have turned the puree into some gnocchi, or I could have mixed the squash puree with some cream and a little bit of sage, and tossed it with some homemade pasta.

Of course, you can mix up the seasonings, or add some lemon juice or nuts to the roasting pan...If you give me some time, I can probably think of a million other ways to use some pureed squash, but I'll spare you the boredom of my 4 a.m. musings.

If you're feeling up to it, you can certainly peel the squash, and I admit that it would be easier to eat that way. You can also use a butternut squash, which is much easier to peel, although that doesn't necessarily mean that it's easy to peel.

You can serve your roasted squash in any of the aforementioned ways, or you can dice it before roasting, and serve it with this cilantro pepita pesto. It sounds like a strange pairing, but trust me--it's delicious. If you come up with any other  interesting uses for roasted squash, feel free to share them in the comments.

Roasted Squash
  • 2 acorn squash, or one largeish butternut squash
  • 3 pinches cayenne pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
If you're feeling up to it, peel the acorn squash. If not, cut it in half and cut the halves (after seeding the squash) into crescents. Here's a third option: cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and place the squash, cut sides up, on a roasting pan. Sprinkle with the seasonings, but consider using less, as you'll have less squash surface area.

If you have a butternut squash, you should peel it. A standard vegetable peeler actually works well for this, although it probably shortens the life of the peeler. Remove the seeds from the butternut squash after cutting it in half.

If you've peeled your squash, cut it into 1/2 inch squares. Line a heavy baking sheet with foil, and place the squash on it. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the cayenne, cumin, and salt, and mix well with your hands. Spread the squash out into a single layer and cook for about 35-55 minutes (cooking time will vary based on the size of your pieces and the water content of your particular squash), until the squash is very tender, slightly shriveled, and browned.

Eat plain, with the cilantro pepita pesto, or in any of the other aforementioned ways.


chesapeakecon said...

The only thing for me that makes peeling (butternut) squash a bit easier and quicker is to first microwave the squash on high power for 2-3 minutes - softens the skin a little.

Garrett said...

I'd like to share my recepie as discovered when I also impulsively purchased strange food for no reason... Oh wait. Nevermind. Sounds delicious though. I want squash ravioli now.

Leah said...

Maybe we'll have some for Christmas. With a lot of potato gratin.

chesapeakecon said...

I second the squash ravioli !!