Flavors of Fall
Autumn in the U.S. is harvest season, and one of the more popular fall foods is winter squash. Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that has a mild nutty flavor and is naturally sweet. It can be used in a range of recipes that call for similar ingredients such as pumpkin and yam.
Once cooked, butternut squash can be added to a variety of dishes like chili, soups, sauces, and curries. It can also be used on top of an entree like a flatbread pizza, or incorporated into the filling of a dish like ravioli. The recipe I decided to try is a good option for anyone on a budget wanting to use very few ingredients. It’s a sweet and savory recipe, which is perfect for a chilly fall night. Creating that dish was practically effortless, which is great news for cooks at any level.
First, cut a medium size butternut squash in half lengthwise and discard the seeds. Place the halves, cut-side down, on a greased baking sheet. Bake the butternut squash in the oven for one hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190.5 degrees Celsius), or until it is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Give the squash some time to cool, then scoop out the insides and put them through a food processor. Once the squash is smoothly pureed, stir in two ripe pears that are peeled, cored, and diced. Add salt, pepper, and butter to enhance the flavors. When ready, serve the dish warm.
There are many health benefits of butternut squash. It’s a good source of dietary fiber and is recommended by many dietitians for weight loss and cholesterol management. One cup of butternut squash has 80 calories and contains more vitamin A than pumpkin, according to the USDA.
If you have a real passion for butternut squash, don’t fret! Butternut squash is available year-round and there are a variety of recipes that incorporate it. Cookbooks like Smitten with Squash are devoted to squash recipes, and can be a great tool for inspiration.
A more common recipe to try is simply roasting the butternut squash. Once it’s peeled, seeded, and cubed, toss the squash in a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast it in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204.4 degrees Celsius).
However, if you’re looking for something a little more festive, many pumpkin pie recipes can be made with butternut squash instead. In fact, most “canned pumpkin” available in stores is made from a relative of the butternut squash. Give it a try by combining squash with all the typical ingredients of pumpkin pie: brown sugar, cornstarch, eggs, milk, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Once the mixture is smooth, pour into a pie shell and bake.
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