image description October 2, 2014

A Guide to Winter Squash with Recipes

A Guide to Winter Squash with Recipes

12 Winter Squash Varieties

These days, hard squash are all I am thinking about. Harvested in the fall, these gourds will last throughout the cold winter months, hence the name winter squash. Beyond the popular sugar pumpkins, acorn and butternut squashes you’re probably familiar with, varieties come in a staggering diversity of size, shape and color. With generally mild and sweet flavors, squash are easy to incorporate into your meal, they absorb seasonings well and are great in soups, pies, risotto, casseroles and even breads. Rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as magnesium, potassium and beta carotene, they also add a real nutritional bonus. Scroll to the bottom of the page for three of my favorite squash recipes.

Acorn Squash

Acorn: Firm, nutty and moderately fibrous, the deeply-ribbed acorn squash is ideal for stuffing, mashing and roasting.

Butternut Squash

Butternut: One of the most common squashes, butternuts are moist and creamy with a nutty flavor. Great in soups or roasted in chunks.

Delicata Squash

Delicata: Oblong with striped edible skin, delicatas have a sweet flavor and custardy texture similar to a butternut. Great for roasting or stuffing.

Pumpkin

Sugar Pumpkins: With a mellow sweetness and dense flesh, small sugar pumpkins are best roasted or steamed then pureed for pie filling, risotto or for bread.

Jester Squash

Jester: Jesters  are oval in shape with small green and orange ribs. Like an acorn squash, it’s best for stuffing and roasting.

Buttercup Squash

Buttercup: Similar in appearance to a kabocha, buttercups have medium sweetness and tender, custardy texture. Best for purees, puddings and pies.

Carnival Squash: Yellow flesh is mellow and sweet. Use it wherever acorn squash or butternut squash is called for in a recipe.

Carnival: Similar to an acorn squash, the carnival squash has firm yellow flesh and is semi-dry, mild and sweet. Good for roasting and stuffing.

Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri: Bumpy, dark orange skin with bright orange flesh. With a buttery texture and nutty flavor, the red kuri is best in purees and mashes.

Spaghetti Squash: Sweet, stringy squash light yellow skin. Ideal in gratins or casseroles, or as a replacement for pasta.

Spaghetti: Sweet, stringy squash with light yellow skin. The extremely mild flavor works well in gratins or casseroles, or as a replacement for pasta.

Blue Hubbard Squash

Blue Hubbard: Underneath the gray-blue bumpy skin is sweet and savory orange flesh. It’s often mealy, so hubbards are best in a puree or pie filling.

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Honey Boat: An oblong, golden-orange squash with a sweet, nutty flavor. Good for roasting and stuffing.

Kabocha Squash

Kabocha: A Japanese squash with a subtle sweetness and smooth texture. It’s best baked or steamed, then pureed.

 


 

My Favorite Winter Squash Recipes:

Spaghetti Squash Crumble

Spaghetti Squash Crumble

If you’re looking for an alternative to mashed potatoes or roasted veggies, you gotta try this spaghetti squash crumble. It’s the ultimate, sweet-and-savory fall side dish that just screams comfort food.

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Rigatoni with Veal Bolognese and Butternut Squash

Rigatoni with Veal Bolognese & Butternut Squash

I fell in love with this delicious combination on a trip to Bergamo, the hilltop city in Lombardy, north of Milan. Low on tomato, just enough for acidic balance, I can’t imagine this won’t become an instant favorite for you.

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Squash Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage

Squash Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage

There is no better autumnal treat than this amazingly insane gnocchi classic. I dare you to eat just one bowl.  This classic northern-Italian combo of sage-Parmesan-gnocchi-brown-butter is one of my top five desert-island dishes.

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