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What do you do with the butternut or other winter squash?

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I bought a container of the cleaned and cut butternut squash the other day, as I had been craving some intense orange-y vegetable. I had considered buying the Birdseye cooked winter squash puree -- because it is so deliciously silky and intense -- but I thought I'd go for the fresh squash.

I simply cooked the squash in some water, and mashed it. It is sweet and more textural than the Birdseye puree, but I figure the extra fiber is good for me.

What do you do with the winter squash?

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<And a weird question: have you ever made a squash pudding using cornstarch? or some thickener that doesn't add many calories?>

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  1. Usually a cream soup. Sometimes I mix it in a mash with sweet potatoes and add some butter, brown sugar and nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

    I also put it in vegetable soup. I love the sweetness it adds.

    1. Roast it with herbs and sometimes other veggies.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Heatherb

        I like to toss with a little olive oil, and a mixture of smoked paprika, chipotle powder, cumin, coriander, a few pinches of brown sugar, and salt... it's Autumn on a plate!

        1. re: cgarner

          Oh yum!

      2. Butternut squash soup with some lump crabmeat on top is easily one of my favorite foods so thats usually what I do with it. Sometimes I make butternut squash ravioli as well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: twyst

          Oh yes. The ravioli. YUM.

        2. http://www.chow.com/recipes/11149-cel...
          I actually make this chowhound recipe during the winter months. It is a favorite with the family and guests as well. It has become a holiday veg for us too.

          1. My mom used to cut an acorn squash in half and put a small knob of butter in each half, then roast them covered till soft. Man, that stuff was delicious!

            2 Replies
            1. re: alkapal

              That is how I have always prepared them, except I never cover them. And you are right, alka, they are delicious. Think I will try covering the next time I roast them.

              1. re: Wtg2Retire

                i THINK i recall that she covered them…they were always nice and moist.

                i really am foolish not to eat more of these great squashes. they are so flavorful.

            2. Roasting is great- winter squashes combine well with all sorts of "hot" spices- peppers, ginger, black pepper, cumin- all kinds of stuff. I like a bit of balsamic vinegar with olive oil for a coating.Also can be made into pies, and used as an element in chili (sweetness mostly). I used to make a dish (Argentine origin, if I remember) that was a sort of stew baked inside a hollowed squash- that sort of presentation can be fun.

              1. I roast mine in a little olive oil, butter & seasoning, sometimes a little chilli flakes & make soup & always serve it this way with a roast dinner. Ive seen it cut in half length ways, deseeded, hollowed out a little & the hollowed out bits sauted or roasted & mixed with rice, sultanas, fennel seeds & curry powder & stuffed back & roasted in the oven. Never cooked it though, saw it as a veggy option on a restaurant menu. Risotto, roast it & put it in a salad with endive, you could probably make a lovely rich dip out of it to serve with endive too, curry... The list is endless. & if you have any friends or relatives with babies who are being weaned, babies love it pureed & Im sure the parents would appreciate a little batch of it roasted & pureed to freeze or put in the fridge for a quick, healthy, ready made meal for bubs.

                1. one thanksgiving i made a stuffed butternut squash -- slicing lengthwise, seeding, then filling the hollow with buttery breadcrumbs, chopped pecans, cranberries, some thyme, salt (maybe a touch of EVOO or chicken broth?)…. i'll bet a little finely minced sage would be nice, too. you could make it really hearty by adding some nicely crumbled country sausage.

                  1. Take an acorn squash and stick the point of a knife into it so it won't blow up then microwave it for 3 minutes so you can EASILY cut it in half. Dig out the seeds and stuff. In the hollow put some butter and either salt and pepper or brown sugar and nutmeg (to your own taste). Bake at 400* until the flesh is soft and the outside is caramelized, maybe 45 minutes.

                    1. by the way, i use my grapefruit spoons to scrape out squash seeds.

                      1. Just a few to whet your butternut squash appetite...

                        Roasted butternut squash pie
                        Butternut squash risotto
                        Grilled butternut squash
                        Warm butternut squash and chickpea salad
                        Couscous with dried apricots and butternut squash
                        Butternut squash and creamed spinach gratin
                        Baked butternut squash stuffed with sausage and apples

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Gio

                          that combo with apricots is intriguing! like in the case of using cranberries, the rich and savory squash contrasts nicely with the tartness of the fruit.

                          along these lines, i wonder if indians do squash curries with tamarind? i don't recall seeing squash done with lime…or lemon.

                          in the ravioli, would one put a wee bit of lemon zest in with the squash? some mascrpone and asiago, as well? serve in a sage brown butter sauce? YUM!

                        2. Lots of great ideas on this thread already. Here's a link to a recipe I've made a few times to rave reviews:

                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                          A great, hearty main dish for vegetarians or a lovely side for meat eaters!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: biondanonima

                            i love goat cheese. i'd never have thought of using it with the squash, but i'll sure try it now. thanks.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              It's really wonderful. I forgot the nuts the first time I made it and I didn't think it needed them (although I did use walnuts the next time). I also used part half and half and added a bit more liquid than the recipe called for (maybe an extra 1/4c). I find that making layers doesn't really work - I just toss everything together in the baking dish, pour the cream over and bake. Oh, and I added sage. (I just can't leave a recipe alone!)

                          2. Roasted with butter and brown sugar is wonderful.

                            I also love this epicurious recipe for Fabio's Creamless Creamy Squash Soup (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...) I'm not gonna lie -- I first made it because I loved the name -- but it is now one of my go-to soups in the winter. I pretty much follow the recipe, but I have never used crumbled amaretto and ever since I couldn't find a peperoncino the first time I made it, I like to play around with the pepper. Dried New Mexico chili is perfect in this soup.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                              interesting with the little amaretti crumbled on top! sounds nice! i like the "creamless" part to keep it lower fat.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                I'm one of those people who eats as healthy as I can, but won't sacrifice taste to save a few calories. The thing about this soup is that you can't even tell it's creamless. It's actually amazingly creamy. As a matter of fact, I bet adding cream would mellow out the flavours too much and make it taste bland!

                                Although I also just realised that the recipe calls for everything to be cooked in water and I usually use chicken stock.

                                1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                  the squash and the potato will certainly give it a nice thick texture…..

                                  i'm sure that you are right about the flavors getting muted if one used cream.

                            2. I've never had squash pudding, alkapal. Interesting.

                              But this morning I roasted a large dice butternut squash with halved, cored Bosc pears which had been tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, a glug of maple syrup, split vanilla bean, fresh thyme, light hand on nutmeg and cinnamon and served them with fresh oatmeal brown bread for lunch. Worked very well.

                              1. -Simply roasted with whatever spices you like
                                -Cream Soup
                                -Purees
                                -Shredded thin with a vegetable peeler, julienned, dredged lightly in flour, then deep fried for a crispy side
                                -Cut thin and layered for use in a tart
                                -Acorn squash halves can be baked with other foodstuffs inside the hollowed part, so the squash forms a kind of edible bowl.
                                -Spaghetti squash obviously can be served in a spaghetti-like form
                                -Filling for ravioli and such
                                -It takes reasonably well to glazing (cooking in a bit of water and butter and a pinch of sugar, reducing the liquid until the squash is basically just cooked in its own squashiness)
                                -With some modification, it can be served in a lot of traditional potato dishes like a gratin.

                                I haven't made squash pudding, but I have made a sort of squash ice cream. I cooked and then pureed the squash. The tricky thing - squash adds its own starch. Think of this as basically like making pumpkin pie filling and go from there. I'm sure you can achieve different textures, but at some point it gets hard to get enough squash flavor in there. I'm not exactly sure how to make a thinner, traditional pudding consistency while still getting a lot of squash flavor in there.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                  I'm not exactly sure how to make a thinner, traditional pudding consistency while still getting a lot of squash flavor in there
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                  would a light hand of evaporated milk work?

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    Quite possibly. Would probably have to test kitchen a thing or two before I got ideal results. That said, I was able to get reasonably decent squash flavor into an ice cream base, though not quite as much as I had hoped. No texture problems, but I only used so much of the puree. I think if I did it again though, I would roast the squash to get a little caramelized flavor into the mix for a more striking effect.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      Both the corn and carrot ice cream I had this summer worked off a similar idea; caramelized ahead and in both case the roast took over the base flavor a bit too much. But I'd enjoy hearing how you'd find it when you try again.

                                    2. re: HillJ

                                      CI just published an article about intensifying the squash flavor in soup by nuking the squash to make it release its water, then cooking the squash on the stovetop to develop a fond. The released water/juices were added back into the soup as part of the liquid without any further reduction, but I imagine you could reduce them to create a more flavorful liquid to add to your pudding base.

                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                        That's an interesting idea biond, w/out adding an additional flavor to thin it.

                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                          That's pretty cool.

                                          I also assume that sous vide cookery (which you wouldn't need much special equipment for with squash, since you could just hold it at a simmer) would probably intensify the flavor in a similar manner.

                                          Pressure cooker might yield interesting results too.

                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                            those CI people do come up with some neat ideas!

                                      2. I love them cut in half and cooked cut side down in a baking dish with water.
                                        Take them out when they're just about done, drain the water off. Turn them over, dot with butter and brown sugar. Tastes like a dessert.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                          maybe that is how my mom did it!

                                        2. 1. Ravioli stuffing
                                          2. Sauce for gnocchi
                                          3. A savory soup with fresh OJ and fresh ginger

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sandylc

                                            as a base for gnocchi is pretty good too, though the one I had was not a light fluffy gnocchi, it was still quite tasty

                                          2. I love butternut squash grated raw in a salad with cranberries and a honey or maple syrup/lemon dressing. But it has to be a good squash, flavorful and not so late season as to be woody.

                                            1. I love the usual soup made with Butternut (especially when it includes apples and chestnuts). I don't even add cream to it...it just doesn't need it.

                                              Another one of my favorites ways with the Butternut though is one I discovered by accident, basically using up leftovers in the fridge: Roasted B-squash, with a Bolognese style sauce and a healthy sprinkle of grated pecorino Romano.
                                              The texture and flavor of the roasted squash marry very nicely with the sauce.

                                              1. look at all of these recipes http://www.kitchendaily.com/2011/10/0...

                                                especially neat sounding -- butternut squash and sage wontons! http://www.kitchendaily.com/recipe/bu...

                                                and a related squash thread on that site has this recipe for acorn squash -- grilled, with a mojo sauce. http://www.kitchendaily.com/recipe/gr...
                                                i've never grilled squash like this.