Two of the easiest ways to prepare a winter squash are steaming and oven roasting. For either method, first peel the squash and cut it into 1-in. cubes. Steaming squash takes about 5 min.; check for doneness with a fork. To oven-roast, place the cubes in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake them at 375°F for about 25 minutes. Cubed squash makes a colorful addition to a vegetable stew or soup, an Indian curry, or a southwestern posole.
Baking a squash takes longer than steaming or oven-roasting, but it really brings out the rich squash flavor. Cut the squash in half, and place the halves cut-side down on a lightly greased pan. Bake them, uncovered, at 350°F to 375°F until tender, anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes depending on the variety and size. Once the halves are baked, you can stuff the cavities and reheat them.
You can also scoop out the flesh of a baked squash and purée it, either by mashing it or by using a food processor. A seasoned squash purée makes a fabulous filling for sweet or savory tarts and turnovers, and a scrumptious base for creamy soups. It adds flavor, moisture, and a warm hue to muffins, biscuits, scones, pancakes, and breads. And it works well as a stuffing for ravioli or as a topping for pizza.
The next time you bake squash, bake a few extra and purée them for freezing. As soon as the purée is cool, place it in a plastic container and freeze it; it will keep for months.
|Winter squash recipes:
• Savory Stuffed Squash
• Squash, Apple, and Onion Pizza
• Golden Squash and Split Pea Dal
• Butternut Squash with Cheddar Cheese and Sage
• Fall Harvest Soup
by Susan Cheney
from issue #6