Squash, Hot

Ok, so my last post was all about squash dishes served cold in honor of the warm autumn weather.  Here are two hot squashes in honor of the cooler evenings.  Be warm, eat well, enjoy.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Cheese

  • 2 whole acorn squashes
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar

Wash the squash then cut in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds then cut each half into 6 wedges.  Toss the wedges with the olive oil.  Place on a cookie sheet, cut sides up, and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and garlic.  Roast in 450 degree oven until the squash starts to brown.  Turn oven down to 350 degrees, sprinkle the cheese all over the squash wedges and put back in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve hot.  (As a variation, sprinkle the squash with garam masala spice blend instead of the salt, pepper, and garlic then top with crumbled feta or Mexican cotija cheese.)

Spaghetti Squash with Eggplant Ragu

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 small can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes (or more or less to taste)
  • 2 Tbs capers
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • water, as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut, seed, and cook spaghetti squash (cut lengthwise, scoop out seeds, cook face down in a couple of inches boiling water in a pot on the stove – allow to drain upside-down in a colander or on a plate.)  Meanwhile, prepare the ragu.  In a pot with a heavy bottom heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Cut the onion in a small dice and add to the oil.  Chop the eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the hot oil and onion.  Mince the garlic and add it, too.  Grate the carrot and add it to the vegetables.  Finely chop the celery and add to vegetables.  Cook them all for a few minutes more then add in the dried herbs and chili.  Stir a few times, cook a couple of minutes then add in the crushed tomatoes.  Add a can or two of water so the vegetables are all barely covered – you don’t want soup but you need enough water to make sauce.  Add in the vinegar and capers, stir, and bring to a low boil.  Keep heat at a simmer, cover and cook the sauce for at least 20 minutes, checking and stirring every 5 or so.  Add water as needed to keep sauce saucy.  When the eggplant is tender and soft, taste the sauce for salt and pepper and season.  Keep sauce warm while you fork the squash out of the shells, carefully, into spaghetti-like strands.  Gently toss half the sauce with the squash then put back in the squash skins or in a flat serving bowl.  Top with the rest of the ragu, serve hot with grated or shredded parmesan to garnish.

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