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.
After the endless pies and casseroles of Thanksgiving, think about giving yourself a quasi cleanse before the holidays — all the while incorporating seasonal favorites. This week, we’re all about winter squash. And lucky for us, the winter squash category includes some of the most popular ones, like butternut, acorn and kabocha. It turns out that squash is low-cal on its own and these recipes don’t contain a trace of butter or cream.
Food Network Magazine’s Spiced Squash With Yogurt Dressing boasts spiced, roasted kabocha squash drizzled with a low-fat yogurt sauce and pomegranate seeds.
Slow cookers are a lifesaver when it comes to keeping things balanced without forsaking flavor. Food Network Magazine’s Slow-Cooker Squash Stew (pictured above) comprises butternut squash, chickpeas and Swiss chard. That sprinkle of Parmesan, however, is up to you.
For a fresh take on fall produce, look to Marcela Valladolid’s recipe for Food Network Magazine, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Tangerine-Rosemary Vinaigrette. In between bites of butternut squash come juicy tangerines, dried cranberries and spinach. Ina Garten’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Warm Cider Vinaigrette blends apple cider and cider vinegar for a tangy contrast to squash roasted with maple syrup.
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We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today, we’re exploring squash.
Tender and mild, summer squash captures the freshness of the season whether it’s raw, steamed, roasted or grilled. But no matter how you choose to prepare this shapely and colorful member of the gourd family, it seems there’s no better combination than summer squash and cheese — Gruyère, ricotta, Parmesan and much more — for a light salad or a hearty main.
Before you get cooking, be sure to choose summer squash with bright-colored skin free of spots and bruises. Once you’re home, refrigerate it in a plastic bag for up to five days, though it will likely disappear long before then.
When summer squash is at its freshest, eat it raw. Thinly shaved, it needs nothing more than a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil, a scattering of grated pecorino and a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper like in this beautiful Summer Squash Carpaccio (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. If you’re in search of a salad of cooked summer squash, Grilled Summer Squash with shaved ricotta salata and Claire’s Minted Squash-Orzo Salad with crumbled feta are equally as delectable.
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Turn winter squash into a simple snack with curry powder and butter. Whether you’re partial to acorn, buttercup, butternut, hubbard, spaghetti or turban, this quick recipe from Food Network Magazine showcases the fruit’s plump, soft flesh.
When shopping, the firmer the squash the better. Winter squash’s thick skin allows for longer storage times (as long as you keep it in a cool, dark place and don’t refrigerate). Don’t forget to watch out for blemishes or moldy spots.
A great source of iron, riboflavin and vitamins A (more than summer squash) and C, this Curried Winter Squash is so addictive don’t be surprised if you eat it all in one sitting.
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I come from one of those families where the Thanksgiving menu is essentially written on stone tablets. Many years ago, it was declared that there shall be turkey with stuffing (some cooked inside the bird and some cooked outside). Mashed potatoes are compulsory, as are sautéed Brussels sprouts, homemade gravy and cranberry jelly in the shape of a can.
When I was 12 years old, my cousin Jeremy brought an unscripted dish to our Thanksgiving table, but it was so wonderful that it was added to the holiday canon. It was a very large bowl of steamed and mashed butternut squash, enriched with a bit of powdered ginger and plenty of butter.
The only issue with this squash dish is that we somehow always manage to make so much of it that it ends up being totally out of proportion with the rest of the leftovers. The only thing that ends up outlasting is the gravy. (My father has trouble making less than a gallon of gravy.) Thankfully, I’ve discovered just the thing to transform all that squash and make it the most sought-after leftover around (though, if you make something else out of it, can it still be called a leftover?).
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There are so many beautiful (and strange-looking) squash at the market right now. Sure, they’re great for a table centerpiece for Thanksgiving, but why not cook with them as well? Turn acorn, butternut, fairytale (yes, fairytale) and more into a delicious fall soup. Add in some pumpkin and you’re cooking the best of what fall produce has to offer.
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