These days, you can't turn a corner without running into a squash. Their maudlin little autumnal displays seem to be everywhere. Truth be told, they've just never turned me on. They seem to need a lot of foreplay before they give up some love with their impenetrable skins and hour plus roasting times.
I was presented with a reason to try, yet again, to embrace the squash because my friends from Harvest Moon Farms gave me a lovely care package with pasture raised meats, Italian greens, farm-fresh eggs and yes, a box of squash - Acorn and Delicata.
I had to come up with something new because the standard squash-apple soup recipe just leaves me cold. So I searched and tested a few new things to do with roasted squash.
First, Roast The Squash
You need a sharp knife and a good, sturdy cutting board to cut these suckers. Cut the squash in half, use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and strings. Put in a roasting pan skin side down, throw some butter, chunky sea salt and fresh ground pepper in the little wells where the seeds used to be and cook at 375 for an hour or more until the flesh is soft and caramelized. Let cool and either scoop out large chunks with a spoon or peel away the skin and cut into square chunks. They don't need to look pretty to taste good.
So, these are my riffs on squash. Feel free to add, subtract and improvise to your taste.
Arugula, roasted squash, bacon, blue cheese, toasted walnuts, cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper
Arugula, prosciutto, roasted squash, pecorino shavings, good balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper
Rainbow or red chard (I love it as a salad green, cut out the stems and saute them with garlic until soft, let cool and add to the salad), roasted squash, fresh mozzarella, sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper
Farro, squash, red onion, walnuts, goat cheese, walnut oil, salt and pepper
Couscous, squash, red onion, harissa, cinammon, sultanas (golden raisins plumped in hot water), toasted slivered almonds, walnut oil, salt and pepper
Griddle this - thinly slice the squash and toss with a touch of sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper; add to sturdy sandwich bread with a thick lick of goat cheese, arugula and bacon.
Squash, I hardly knew thee...