Who doesn’t love squash?? Holy Autumn, do I love squash! You can roast, fry, sauté, puree it. The ONLY bummer about squash is the preparation. I spent many years slaving over it – or, otherwise, NOT having squash because I was too lazy to slave over it. Thanks to the Interwebs and social media, I have found some hints and hacks that help. I’ll share.
You have your easy, tender squash like yellow squash and zucchini. These are summer squash. You don’t even have to peel them. Just wash and slice, then cook as desired. You can even shred zucchini into “noodles” with fun new gadgets you can find at Walgreen’s or Bed Bath & Beyond. I love these roasted or grilled, in soups, even steamed. I love to pair with onions, other squash, potatoes. Use it in casseroles, add to medleys, soups, stews, as a side dish, alone, pair with broccoli and cauliflower. Heck, serve it with ice cream. You really can’t go wrong.
Spaghetti Squash has its own category. It’s easy. Wash it first (because you’re gonna drag your knife down through it), then slice it lengthwise. Scoop out all the goop (save the seeds to roast, if you wanna), brush with EVOO, salt and pepper. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper, add about 1″ of water, place the squash pieces, cut-side-down, into the water, and roast on 425 for about an hour (less if you like a firmer “noodle”). When it’s cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out with a big serving fork, separating the “noodles.” Then, just serve this golden yumminess however you choose.
Winter Squash, though. Yeah, baby. Come to Mama. Sweeter, denser, more versatile than summer squash, this is my jam. So many. So yummy.
Butternut Squash is the darling of the gourd world, in my humble opinion. It’s a bear to prepare, though. All winter squash is similar: pumpkin, acorn, hubbard, kabocha, carnival, dumpling. You can peel it and chunk it and steam it. Or chunk it and peel it and steam it. If you choose, you can buy it fresh, already peeled and chunked, or even frozen (because duh). But it’s CHEAPER (and you have more control over where it originates, if it’s local, organic, etc., if that’s important to you) to buy it (or grow it) and prep it yourself. So. Wash it, slice it in half, scoop the gunk out (save the seeds if you want to roast them) and cook it slightly first. If you want, microwave it for 4-5 minutes, let it cool, then peel it. Or roast it for awhile until it softens up (350-425), let it cool, then peel it and chunk it. If you want it even EASIER, don’t even slice and scoop first – just put the whole, clean thing in there (pierce the skin a few times first, so it doesn’t explode). No digits lost, no backache, no expletives thrown around. Voila!
Depending on your recipe, you can then use your prepped squash for a satisfying meal to share with your peeps. I’ll share recipes.