Thursday, November 04, 2010

Betty Does the Classics: How to Cook Squash

Acorn squash
While squash may not make an appearance on everyone's Thanksgiving table, their current availability may make you want to reconsider.  Thanks to my parents' generosity, I am the grateful recipient of some of this year's acorn squash bounty.  I am a happy girl.

The principles for cooking squash are the same regardless of variety. In fact, pumpkins work the same way too if you are still in possession of one.

If you desire to use your squash for salads that require cubes, you can cut them open remove the seeds and center with a large spoon and cut into cubes, removing the skin. Next, either steam or boil until fork tender.
The seeds can be roasted too

Or, if like me, you want the mashed up version, simply cut in half with a large knife, again, removing the seeds and center with a large spoon (*note: you can roast your squash seeds just like pumpkin seeds).
All buttery and sweet
Place in a baking dish with enough water to just cover the bottom of the dish, no more. Add a knob of butter and salt and pepper (or brown sugar if you so desire). Cover with foil and bake in a 350 oven until fork tender.

When you remove these beauties from the oven you have a few options: you can scoop out all the good stuff from the skin with a large spoon to serve in a separate bowl with more butter, like mash potatoes. Or you can just pull the filling from the sides and mash up with a fork and serve directly....adding more butter to this as well, of course.
Mashed up in the skin
ready to serve

The beauty of winter squash is it's versatility. Which carries over into what to do with any leftovers. Blend in a food processor to remove any possible strands and use the puree for babyfood, muffins, pancakes (yes, pancakes), pie,  gnocchi, or in any other way that you would use pumpkin. I personally made a big batch of muffins, topped with cinnamon sugar and the house smells divine.

A simple, tasty, inexpensive, and colorful side dish for any fall or winter meal. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

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