It's a Squash-Off


It's that time of year.  Time to figure out what the fuck to do with all of this squash (which, in turn, brings to mind this poignant article you sent me). 

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Thus, Libs, I challenge you to a squash-off.  I've got a couple of goodies (June's favorite pumpkin zucchini muffins manage to cram two in there), but I need some new material.  Particularly with spaghetti squash.  So, I’ll give you some of mine if you give me some of yours…! 

The first recipe is one of my own.  But the other two are tried and true from two well-known ladies.  They range from easy to more involved, but all will give you adequate outlet for any squash love you may be feeling.

1. Doubly Squash Soup

This soup is so great because its very hands-off.  You roast most of the ingredients first, which gives it a great carmely nuance.  Then basically add broth, puree and serve.  Top with crispy pancetta and chives or olive oil drizzle and grated parmesan.  This last time I made it, we actually had some truffle oil (ya know, just lying around) and that was just ridiculous.  Serve alongside a hearty grilled cheese sandwich (think gruyere and fontina) for dunkin’.  

Serves 8-10.

Oven at 425.  Grease a large baking sheet.

1 medium butternut squash, halved, then quartered, seeds removed

1 medium acorn squash, halved, then quartered, seeds removed

1 leek, split in half, dark green parts removed, white and light green parts washed well

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored.  Quarter one and dice the other.

1 small shallot, minced

¼ cup olive oil

10 – 12 cups good quality veggie broth (I use this brand)

1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (optional)

Loads of salt and pepper

Place squash, flesh side up, on prepared baking sheet.  Do the same with the leek and the quartered apple.  Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put about ½ cup of water on the bottom of the baking sheet.  Put in oven and roast the whole shebang for about  30 minutes.  Remove the apple. Roast for another 15-30 minutes, or until all of the squash is fork tender and nicely browned on top (Note: the cooking times will depend in part on the size of your squashes, as well as on their ripeness. Either way, your whole house will smell like fall at this point).  Let cool about 20-30 minutes, until cool enough to handle.  Then, scoop out the flesh of all of your squashes and place into a large bowl, along with the cooled roasted apple.  Remove the ends of the leeks and slice into big chunks, adding these to the squash/apple mixture. 

Next, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pan.  Add shallot and diced apple, sautéing until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Throw in the roasted squash, apple and leek.  Add 10-12 cups of broth, bring to low boil, then reduce the temp, keeping it all at a low simmer.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes, then blend, either using an immersion blender or a stand alone, until all nicely pureed.  Return to pot (if using stand alone) and add nutmeg.  Salt, salt, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

 Saves in fridge for up to 5 days.  Freezes beautifully, too.


2. Butternut Squash Lasagne by Giada De Laurentiis

A little time consuming, but a great fall/winter dish.  Plus, this is great for a crowd as it can be assembled ahead of time.  I always use pesto instead of the basil leaves she calls for, and I usually omit the amaretti cookies, but I don't think you can go wrong either way. 


3. Caramelized Butternut Squash by Ina Garten

This is easy, easy, easy and so good.