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Chances are that butternut squash made an appearance in at least one of the dishes in your Thanksgiving spread last month, but the beauty of this slightly sweet, sunset-colored squash goes beyond traditional holiday soups and salads. Light and elegant yet still satisfying, butternut squash can be imagined in any number of dishes because it can be cooked in many different ways. Whether you puree it into pasta sauce, roast it with spices, bake it in halves, or boil and mash it, butternut squash is a meatless staple that shines throughout winter. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite butternut squash preparations below, then tell us in the comments: how do you enjoy butternut squash?
For a comforting cool-weather supper, look to Food Network Magazine‘s Butternut Squash Risotto (pictured above). Unlike many risottos, this recipe requires little hands-on time since it’s made in a pressure cooker. After just a few minutes under pressure, the garlic-laced squash turns tender, the rice al dente and the sauce thick, and it’s ready to be mixed with rich gouda cheese and peppery arugula. The secret to this and other risottos is using Arborio rice, not everyday white or brown rice; the starchy Arborio guarantees a thick, creamy final product. To maintain a wholly vegetarian meal, be sure to swap in vegetable broth for chicken.
A largely no-cook pasta dinner, Giada’s Penne With Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese is a five-star recipe that is sure to fill you up. To prepare, she roasts butternut squash with sliced onions until both are soft and sweet, then mixes them with a duo of goat and Parmesan cheeses, crunchy walnuts, fresh basil and the piping-hot penne to create a creamy concoction that’s hearty and decadent. It’s important to reserve a few cups of the pasta water after you drain the noodles — this deliciously cheesy sauce may need to be loosened with it.
With just four everyday ingredients, Ina turns basic butternut squash into a flavor-packed side dish in her recipe for Caramelized Butternut Squash (pictured right). She combines cubes of squash with butter, warm brown sugar and seasonings, then slowly roasts them until sweet, tender and golden brown. Serve this alongside any main dish to complete the meal and add seasonal warmth to your spread.