Savor them stuffed, glazed, in gnocchi, with chiles, and more
September 10, 2008
5 TYPES TO PLEASE THE PALATE―AND THE EYE
Spaghetti It’s all about texture with this mild squash: Scrape it with a spoon once cooked, and the flesh separates into juicy, pastalike strands.
Butternut Easy to peel, with lots of rich-tasting, deep orange flesh and very few seeds; the most versatile of the winter squash.
Delicata Small, oblong, and festively striped. Sweet yellow flesh cooks up to be nutty and pleasantly dry.
Kabocha Roundish and dark green outside with dense, smooth, dark orange flesh inside that hints of caramel.
Acorn A good all-around squash. Generally on the small side, it’s ideal for stuffing.
3 WAYS TO COOK SQUASH
Microwave Poke squash all over with a fork. Microwave it at full power (100%) 5 to 10 minutes, depending on size of squash. Fork should easily pierce peel and flesh. If it doesn’t, microwave squash in 1-minute intervals until it does. Let sit until cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and proceed with recipe. Good for all varieties.
Roast/bake Preheat oven to 375°. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Using a soup spoon, scoop out and discard seeds. Oil or butter a baking sheet. Place squash, cut side down, on sheet and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 45 minutes depending on size. Good for all varieties.
Steam Peel, seed, and cut or slice squash and put in a steamer basket. Fill a pot with water to a depth of 1 in., bring to a boil, and set basket in pot. Steam, covered, until tender to the bite, 10 to 20 minutes depending on size of pieces. Best for squash that is smooth-skinned and easily peeled, such as butternut and kabocha.
7 MUST-TRY WINTER SQUASH RECIPES
1. Spaghetti squash with jalapeño cream We’ve tossed spaghetti squash with a spicy cream sauce and baked it, mac-‘n’-cheese-style, for a warming, hearty side dish that doubles easily and reheats beautifully. Keep this one in mind for Thanksgiving.
3. Butternut squash bread pudding with tres leches sauce This hearty dessert also makes a tasty breakfast if you serve with maple syrup in lieu of the tres leches sauce. The rich tres leches sauce is a more pourable version of dulce de leche, a caramel-like favorite in Latin America that is used with everything from cakes and cookies to candies and ice cream.
4. Butternut squash with green chile and mustard seeds A fast, fun accompaniment to any simply grilled, broiled, or roasted meat. We particularly like it with a rotisserie chicken, some crusty bread, and Greek-style yogurt on the side. Save time and effort by using a 2-lb. bag of precut butternut squash.