My favorite new veggie du stagione (that’s season in Italian, of course) is winter squash. We’re talking much more than pumpkin.
I guess, like many others – I have a love affair with pumpkin through the fall season. Yes, I know it is popular to trash pumpkin because it has become so darn ubiquitous (you know it’s a problem when Starbucks makes a latte out of it).
But, as a squash: pumpkin and its much more succulent cousins: delicata, Hubbard, kabocha, Blue Hubbard, butternut — it is a ubiquitous cold weather treat.
Easy as hell to prepare: half it (or, if really large: section it) and pop it in the oven to roast. Lots of techniques on the sectioning part — because attacking any of these tough-skinned vegetables can be perilous. Guy on the farmers market told me, hold it in your hands – at about waist height – and take it down to the ground/floor. It cracks into cookable pieces. I have found best to wrap it in a towel — the splunk can send seeds and stringy goo all over your kitchen.
My brilliant friend Victoria Granof, food style and cook extraordinaire, follows the advice of some television cook whose name I forget, who says put the whole squash in the over for 15 minutes at some degrees — probably 400-ish. It doesn’t cook, but becomes super easy to cut.
What can you do:
eat it roasted as is, puree it and make recipes requiring pumpkin:
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal: 1/2 c. pumpkin puree, 3/4 c almond milk, 1/c oatmeal, cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice/dash salt/vanilla. I use a couple drops of the real-deal stevia and 2 t. brown sugar. Cook for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, top with 1 T sliced almonds & 1 t. brown sugar – and cook another 10 minutes. One serving. And for those who are counting 7 WeightWatchers® points.
Squash soup. Veggie boullion cube, 2 cups water, shallots & onions, some roasted kabocha (2 cups maybe?), a 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce – cook it up a bit – and have at it with a cook’s best friend: the immersion blender. Zero WW® points.
And, the list goes on – use your imagination.
Oh by the way, the beautiful lady with the delicata is Signora Maria, straight from Bagnacavallo near Bologna — created by Italian artist Anna Tazzari – a beautiful woman in every way – and extraordinarily talented.