What To Do With: Delicata Squash

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Just like my Pumpkin Spiced Latte confession, I commit another Fall flavor faux pas annually that I guess I should own up to. I don’t like squash. Almost at all.  I LOVE pumpkin (a squash, I know), but that’s where I draw the line.  Butternut squash soup, bisque, gnocchi…not for me.  I used to be a huge spaghetti squash fan, but after eating so much of it last season it has to be cooked a certain way for me to like it.  So, when I saw this interesting squash in the grocery store I almost immediately passed it by.  But having never heard of Delicata Squash, (and it being on super sale in the store) I decided to buy a few and see what I could do with it.

To cook the squash, cut down the center and scoop the guts out with a spoon.  You can roast the seeds, or discard.  Place the squash on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes if in halves, or 25-30 minutes if in smaller slices or dices.  Delicata Squash is much more mild in flavor than a butternut squash, and tastes more like a sweet potato.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Also, there’s no need to peel this squash – you can eat the skin!

1) Pureed Sweet Delicata Squash

I started off the squash experiment with something I thought would be safe – everything tastes better sweeter.  I roasted the squash with some molasses for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven, about 1T per medium squash.  After the squash cooled, I used a spoon to scoop the flesh away from the skin, added about another tablespoon of molasses, half a tablespoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of each nutmeg, ginger, and clove, and pureed in a food processor.  I was left with this wonderful fall spiced spread that I’ve added to yogurt, spread on toast, and used as a dip for some ripe pears.  This was so delicious, and very reminiscent of a pumpkin pie filling – maybe I’ll use the leftovers in a crispy pastry!

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2) Garlic Roasted Smashed Delicata Squash

This side dish was AWESOME.  Roast the squash the same as you would the sweet puree, but brush with olive oil and some garlic powder instead of molasses.  Cool, scoop, and mash with salt and pepper.  I really liked keeping some of the dish on the chunky side to add texture.  It’s even really great for those of us who eat with their eyes.  You get great color from the natural caramelization of the squash. This would make a great alternative to a traditional mashed potato or sweet potato bake for any fall holiday – it’s sweet AND salty, and so good!

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3) Roasted Delicata Squash “Fries”

After having success with two tasty dishes, I thought I should try to keep things simple and stick to the flavors of the squash itself.  I cut this raw squash in slices (less than half inch), brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with pepper, and baked it in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, turning every 10.  These little “fries” were a perfect substitute to hash browns with my morning eggs.  They were semi-crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside.  I finished them off with a little grated parmesan and devoured immediately.  I couldn’t believe it – I actually found a roasted squash I liked!  I will definitely be making these again for a fall appetizer.IMG_9688

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