With quiet sweetness, happy orange colour, winter squash remarkably versatile

News Oct 23, 2009 Ancaster News

Squash takes as easily to being pureed for soups as it does to being mashed for a fine companion to autumn meals like roast turkey and duck.

It's good with Parmesan grated over it or with grain for a vegetarian meal. Drizzle it with balsamic vinegar or dress it with lemon juice.

Toss warm squash with arugula or watercress and crumbled feta or goat cheese for a terrific salad, or use it in a risotto.

We’re talking winter squash here, the kind with a hard rind: (Summer squash is soft-rinded, and the most common in these parts are zucchini and yellow crookneck and straight neck).

There are a great many varieties of winter squash in local markets and grocery stores this time of year, including acorn and buttercup Delicata and Hubbard, Kabocha and turban, banana and pepper. Pumpkin is also a winter squash.

Although each has its own nuance of flavour (except for pumpkin, which has hardly any flavour at all) and its own texture and degree of sweetness, squashes are basically similar enough in taste that they're generally interchangeable in cooking.

Warm Ginger-Roast Butternut Squash and Tomato Salad

This recipe is from The Vegetable Bible (HarperCollins, 2009), by British food writer and squash lover Sophie Grigson. It calls for pancetta, which is unsmoked Italian bacon cured with salt and spices. Use regular bacon if you can't find pancetta. Serves 4

1 small butternut squash, about 11/2 pounds (750 g)

1-inch (2.5-cm) knob fresh ginger, grated

4 bay leaves

6 tablespoons (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

24 cherry tomatoes, halved 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon (5 mL) fennel seeds 12 rashers pancetta or bacon

1/4 pound (125 g) arugula or watercress

2 tablespoons (30 mL) white-wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice squash thickly crosswise into pieces about 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick. Using a paring knife, remove the rind. Place squash slices in a roasting pan with the ginger, 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper. Add 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of the olive oil, turn so the squash is oiled, and slide pan into the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the cherry tomatoes into a small roasting dish, add the rest of the olive oil, 1 sliced clove of garlic, 1 bay leaf and the fennel seeds. Season with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes to coat them with the oil and seasonings. Remove squash from oven and add the remaining garlic. Turn the squash, then lay the pancetta over the top. Return the squash to the oven, along with the pan of tomatoes. Roast for 20 minutes, until pancetta is crisp, squash is tender and the tomatoes are sizzling and browning a bit. Divide the greens among four plates. Lift off the pancetta and reserve. Remove bay leaves. Spoon hot squash and tomatoes over greens. Add the vinegar to the roasting pan and place on stove over low heat. Stir, scraping all the caramelized its until everything is bubbling. Spoon over salad. Top each salad with 3 pieces of pancetta, if using, and serve.

Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens over Bow Tie Pasta

An autumn supper in a bowl -with the "sauce" roasted in the oven, from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-winning Food Show (Clarkson Potter, 2008), by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. A wonderful cookbook, fun to cook from and to read -and full of cooking and prep tips.

Serves 4 to 6

For the vegetable roast:

About 3 pounds (1.5 g) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 medium to large onion, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks

2 large handfuls escarole or curly endive, washed, dried and torn into small pieces, or a spring mix of greens

1/3 cup (75 mL) fresh basil leaves, torn and tightly packed

16 large fresh sage leaves, torn

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/3 cup (75 mL) extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper For the pasta:

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon (15 mL) brown sugar

1 pound (500 g) good-quality bow tie pasta

1/2 cup (125 mL) 10 per cent cream 1 to 1 1/2 cups (250 to 375 mL) shredded Asiago cheese

Slip a large, shallow sheet pan, or two smaller ones, into the oven and heat to 450 F (230 C).

Bring 5 quarts (5 L) salted water to a boil in a large pot. In a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients for the roasted vegetables, reserving one handful of the greens, and season with the salt and pepper.

Pull out the oven rack holding the sheet pan, turn the squash blend onto the hot sheet pan and spread it out. Bake about 25 minutes, or until squash is nearly ready, turning vegetables a couple of times during roasting. As squash is roasting, drop pasta into the boiling water and cook it until tender, but still toothsome. Drain. Once squash is tender, turn on broiler to caramelize it; this should take about five minutes. Watch closely, turning often. Scrape the vegetables into a serving bowl, and toss with the remaining greens, the cream, the hot pasta and 1 cup (250 mL) of the cheese. Toss to blend, tasting for salt and pepper. Add more cheese, if desired. Serve hot.

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash

In Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (Clarkson Potter, 2008), Ina Garten offers a savoury treatment for what she says is one of her favourite vegetables. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt just before serving. Serves 6

1 large (3 pounds/1.5 kg) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes

1 head garlic, separated into cloves, but not peeled

2 tablespoons (30 mL) good olive oil 21/2 tablespoons (40 mL) pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon (5 mL) kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon (3 mL) freshly ground black pepper

2 ounces (60 g) thinly sliced pancetta, chopped

16 whole fresh sage leaves French bread for serving

Place squash and garlic on a sheet pan, covered with foil if you like, in a single layer. Toss with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and roast in a 400 F (200 C) oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until squash starts to brown;turn once.

Sprinkle the pancetta, if using, and sage leaves evenly over squash and bake another 20 minutes or so, until squash and garlic are tender and caramelized.

Season to taste and serve hot with French bread to spread with garlic squeeze from the cloves.

With quiet sweetness, happy orange colour, winter squash remarkably versatile

News Oct 23, 2009 Ancaster News

Squash takes as easily to being pureed for soups as it does to being mashed for a fine companion to autumn meals like roast turkey and duck.

It's good with Parmesan grated over it or with grain for a vegetarian meal. Drizzle it with balsamic vinegar or dress it with lemon juice.

Toss warm squash with arugula or watercress and crumbled feta or goat cheese for a terrific salad, or use it in a risotto.

We’re talking winter squash here, the kind with a hard rind: (Summer squash is soft-rinded, and the most common in these parts are zucchini and yellow crookneck and straight neck).

There are a great many varieties of winter squash in local markets and grocery stores this time of year, including acorn and buttercup Delicata and Hubbard, Kabocha and turban, banana and pepper. Pumpkin is also a winter squash.

Although each has its own nuance of flavour (except for pumpkin, which has hardly any flavour at all) and its own texture and degree of sweetness, squashes are basically similar enough in taste that they're generally interchangeable in cooking.

Warm Ginger-Roast Butternut Squash and Tomato Salad

This recipe is from The Vegetable Bible (HarperCollins, 2009), by British food writer and squash lover Sophie Grigson. It calls for pancetta, which is unsmoked Italian bacon cured with salt and spices. Use regular bacon if you can't find pancetta. Serves 4

1 small butternut squash, about 11/2 pounds (750 g)

1-inch (2.5-cm) knob fresh ginger, grated

4 bay leaves

6 tablespoons (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

24 cherry tomatoes, halved 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon (5 mL) fennel seeds 12 rashers pancetta or bacon

1/4 pound (125 g) arugula or watercress

2 tablespoons (30 mL) white-wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice squash thickly crosswise into pieces about 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick. Using a paring knife, remove the rind. Place squash slices in a roasting pan with the ginger, 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper. Add 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of the olive oil, turn so the squash is oiled, and slide pan into the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the cherry tomatoes into a small roasting dish, add the rest of the olive oil, 1 sliced clove of garlic, 1 bay leaf and the fennel seeds. Season with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes to coat them with the oil and seasonings. Remove squash from oven and add the remaining garlic. Turn the squash, then lay the pancetta over the top. Return the squash to the oven, along with the pan of tomatoes. Roast for 20 minutes, until pancetta is crisp, squash is tender and the tomatoes are sizzling and browning a bit. Divide the greens among four plates. Lift off the pancetta and reserve. Remove bay leaves. Spoon hot squash and tomatoes over greens. Add the vinegar to the roasting pan and place on stove over low heat. Stir, scraping all the caramelized its until everything is bubbling. Spoon over salad. Top each salad with 3 pieces of pancetta, if using, and serve.

Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens over Bow Tie Pasta

An autumn supper in a bowl -with the "sauce" roasted in the oven, from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-winning Food Show (Clarkson Potter, 2008), by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. A wonderful cookbook, fun to cook from and to read -and full of cooking and prep tips.

Serves 4 to 6

For the vegetable roast:

About 3 pounds (1.5 g) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 medium to large onion, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks

2 large handfuls escarole or curly endive, washed, dried and torn into small pieces, or a spring mix of greens

1/3 cup (75 mL) fresh basil leaves, torn and tightly packed

16 large fresh sage leaves, torn

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/3 cup (75 mL) extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper For the pasta:

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon (15 mL) brown sugar

1 pound (500 g) good-quality bow tie pasta

1/2 cup (125 mL) 10 per cent cream 1 to 1 1/2 cups (250 to 375 mL) shredded Asiago cheese

Slip a large, shallow sheet pan, or two smaller ones, into the oven and heat to 450 F (230 C).

Bring 5 quarts (5 L) salted water to a boil in a large pot. In a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients for the roasted vegetables, reserving one handful of the greens, and season with the salt and pepper.

Pull out the oven rack holding the sheet pan, turn the squash blend onto the hot sheet pan and spread it out. Bake about 25 minutes, or until squash is nearly ready, turning vegetables a couple of times during roasting. As squash is roasting, drop pasta into the boiling water and cook it until tender, but still toothsome. Drain. Once squash is tender, turn on broiler to caramelize it; this should take about five minutes. Watch closely, turning often. Scrape the vegetables into a serving bowl, and toss with the remaining greens, the cream, the hot pasta and 1 cup (250 mL) of the cheese. Toss to blend, tasting for salt and pepper. Add more cheese, if desired. Serve hot.

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash

In Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (Clarkson Potter, 2008), Ina Garten offers a savoury treatment for what she says is one of her favourite vegetables. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt just before serving. Serves 6

1 large (3 pounds/1.5 kg) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes

1 head garlic, separated into cloves, but not peeled

2 tablespoons (30 mL) good olive oil 21/2 tablespoons (40 mL) pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon (5 mL) kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon (3 mL) freshly ground black pepper

2 ounces (60 g) thinly sliced pancetta, chopped

16 whole fresh sage leaves French bread for serving

Place squash and garlic on a sheet pan, covered with foil if you like, in a single layer. Toss with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and roast in a 400 F (200 C) oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until squash starts to brown;turn once.

Sprinkle the pancetta, if using, and sage leaves evenly over squash and bake another 20 minutes or so, until squash and garlic are tender and caramelized.

Season to taste and serve hot with French bread to spread with garlic squeeze from the cloves.

With quiet sweetness, happy orange colour, winter squash remarkably versatile

News Oct 23, 2009 Ancaster News

Squash takes as easily to being pureed for soups as it does to being mashed for a fine companion to autumn meals like roast turkey and duck.

It's good with Parmesan grated over it or with grain for a vegetarian meal. Drizzle it with balsamic vinegar or dress it with lemon juice.

Toss warm squash with arugula or watercress and crumbled feta or goat cheese for a terrific salad, or use it in a risotto.

We’re talking winter squash here, the kind with a hard rind: (Summer squash is soft-rinded, and the most common in these parts are zucchini and yellow crookneck and straight neck).

There are a great many varieties of winter squash in local markets and grocery stores this time of year, including acorn and buttercup Delicata and Hubbard, Kabocha and turban, banana and pepper. Pumpkin is also a winter squash.

Although each has its own nuance of flavour (except for pumpkin, which has hardly any flavour at all) and its own texture and degree of sweetness, squashes are basically similar enough in taste that they're generally interchangeable in cooking.

Warm Ginger-Roast Butternut Squash and Tomato Salad

This recipe is from The Vegetable Bible (HarperCollins, 2009), by British food writer and squash lover Sophie Grigson. It calls for pancetta, which is unsmoked Italian bacon cured with salt and spices. Use regular bacon if you can't find pancetta. Serves 4

1 small butternut squash, about 11/2 pounds (750 g)

1-inch (2.5-cm) knob fresh ginger, grated

4 bay leaves

6 tablespoons (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

24 cherry tomatoes, halved 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon (5 mL) fennel seeds 12 rashers pancetta or bacon

1/4 pound (125 g) arugula or watercress

2 tablespoons (30 mL) white-wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice squash thickly crosswise into pieces about 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick. Using a paring knife, remove the rind. Place squash slices in a roasting pan with the ginger, 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper. Add 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of the olive oil, turn so the squash is oiled, and slide pan into the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the cherry tomatoes into a small roasting dish, add the rest of the olive oil, 1 sliced clove of garlic, 1 bay leaf and the fennel seeds. Season with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes to coat them with the oil and seasonings. Remove squash from oven and add the remaining garlic. Turn the squash, then lay the pancetta over the top. Return the squash to the oven, along with the pan of tomatoes. Roast for 20 minutes, until pancetta is crisp, squash is tender and the tomatoes are sizzling and browning a bit. Divide the greens among four plates. Lift off the pancetta and reserve. Remove bay leaves. Spoon hot squash and tomatoes over greens. Add the vinegar to the roasting pan and place on stove over low heat. Stir, scraping all the caramelized its until everything is bubbling. Spoon over salad. Top each salad with 3 pieces of pancetta, if using, and serve.

Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash and Greens over Bow Tie Pasta

An autumn supper in a bowl -with the "sauce" roasted in the oven, from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-winning Food Show (Clarkson Potter, 2008), by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. A wonderful cookbook, fun to cook from and to read -and full of cooking and prep tips.

Serves 4 to 6

For the vegetable roast:

About 3 pounds (1.5 g) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 medium to large onion, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks

2 large handfuls escarole or curly endive, washed, dried and torn into small pieces, or a spring mix of greens

1/3 cup (75 mL) fresh basil leaves, torn and tightly packed

16 large fresh sage leaves, torn

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/3 cup (75 mL) extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper For the pasta:

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon (15 mL) brown sugar

1 pound (500 g) good-quality bow tie pasta

1/2 cup (125 mL) 10 per cent cream 1 to 1 1/2 cups (250 to 375 mL) shredded Asiago cheese

Slip a large, shallow sheet pan, or two smaller ones, into the oven and heat to 450 F (230 C).

Bring 5 quarts (5 L) salted water to a boil in a large pot. In a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients for the roasted vegetables, reserving one handful of the greens, and season with the salt and pepper.

Pull out the oven rack holding the sheet pan, turn the squash blend onto the hot sheet pan and spread it out. Bake about 25 minutes, or until squash is nearly ready, turning vegetables a couple of times during roasting. As squash is roasting, drop pasta into the boiling water and cook it until tender, but still toothsome. Drain. Once squash is tender, turn on broiler to caramelize it; this should take about five minutes. Watch closely, turning often. Scrape the vegetables into a serving bowl, and toss with the remaining greens, the cream, the hot pasta and 1 cup (250 mL) of the cheese. Toss to blend, tasting for salt and pepper. Add more cheese, if desired. Serve hot.

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash

In Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (Clarkson Potter, 2008), Ina Garten offers a savoury treatment for what she says is one of her favourite vegetables. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt just before serving. Serves 6

1 large (3 pounds/1.5 kg) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes

1 head garlic, separated into cloves, but not peeled

2 tablespoons (30 mL) good olive oil 21/2 tablespoons (40 mL) pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon (5 mL) kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon (3 mL) freshly ground black pepper

2 ounces (60 g) thinly sliced pancetta, chopped

16 whole fresh sage leaves French bread for serving

Place squash and garlic on a sheet pan, covered with foil if you like, in a single layer. Toss with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and roast in a 400 F (200 C) oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until squash starts to brown;turn once.

Sprinkle the pancetta, if using, and sage leaves evenly over squash and bake another 20 minutes or so, until squash and garlic are tender and caramelized.

Season to taste and serve hot with French bread to spread with garlic squeeze from the cloves.