It’s our mission to make winter squash lovers out of every one of you and I take this job very seriously, so prepare to surrender yourselves to at least one our super easy simple squash delicacies. You can fight it, but you won’t win. Bring us your toughest customers – your meat lovin’ better half that doesn’t “do” squash, your young children that refuse to eat anything “squishy”, and bring along those that are just simply bored with the soup and roasted routine. There will be at least one recipe in this six part series that will turn you around.
Step one, know your ally. Below is a visual guide to our squash that is currently in season and a little bit about the variety and it’s characteristics.
As the name would suggest, acorn shaped, dark green sometimes with splotches of orange on the outside, sweet, bright orange flesh on the inside.
A light yellowish tan exterior with bright orange flesh that gets more orange as it ripens. Has a slightly nutty flavor, with sweetness and tastes very close to a pumpkin.
Characterized by its distinctive long dark green stripes on a yellow or cream colored skin with a sweet, orange-yellow flesh on the inside.
AKA Japanese pumpkin, has knobbly-looking deep green skin with some light colored stripes and spots, is shaped like a squatty pumpkin, and is an intense yellow-orange color on the inside.
The outside can vary in color from a light cream to bright yellow or orange. The flesh is bright yellow to orange in color What makes this variety unique is how the inside is hard like other winter squashes but then resembles noodles or spaghetti when cooked.
Yes, it’s a pumpkin, which is a squash (okay, so don’t tell them!!). Orange inside and out, this is the stuff that pies, pancakes, bread and muffins are made of. Top Secret Tip: you could substitute Kabocha, Butternut or Acorn squash for pumpkin in any of those recipes – no one would know. Go ahead, try it, you know you want to. I served a butternut squash pie to a hoard at Thanksgiving – no one knew the difference. Actually, that’s not true – someone did said “this is the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted”.
Step Two, KISS (keep it super simple). Here’s a really easy recipe for the spaghetti variety that I think, quite frankly, squashes the competition!
Herbed Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash
2-3 T butter
3-4 T tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, chives)
2-3 T freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 375. Using a sharp knife is key to being able to cut the hard squashes in half without cutting yourself in the process. So using a SHARP knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down in a baking dish. Pour about 1/2″ of water in the dish and cover it with foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes until you can easily stick a knife in it. Flip the squash over and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes (under foil). Time will vary depending on how big your squash is, but you want the flesh very tender to make the best “noodles”.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before you remove seeds and pull the squash strands away from the skin into a medium bowl.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the squash “noodles”, herbs, salt, pepper and stir to combine and heat thoroughly. Add the parmesan cheese, toss gently and serve immediately.