Spotting the fruit of the fall season in my local supermarket conjures visions of cozy winter dinners complemented by inspired autumnal table settings (which I will never set). But on rare occasions when I have taken the squash home to my kitchen, it's greatest accomplishment ended up being a cumbersome centerpiece (at least one fantasy sort of came true).
Luckily, I work with a group of sophisticated editors who are also competent cooks. They help crack the squash code with 4 simple recipes they’ve gleaned from personal experience. And then there's mine, which is for those days you eat only to survive.
From Allison Austin Scheff, food editor
Every fall I make two or three batches of the Macrina Squash Harvest Loaf recipe (which makes 2 loaves). It's become a tradition in my house.
First you roast the butternut squash, then puree it, then toast walnuts, pecans and pumpkin seed; make a quick bread with fresh ground nutmeg and cinnamon, the squash and the chopped nuts, and you end up with a moist nutty bread that smells divine and tastes of the season. Of course you could just *buy* a slice at Macrina, but that'd be too easy and convenient.
From Brangien Davis, arts & culture editor
My fail-safe recipe list is not so much a list as a single bullet point: the butternut squash chowder I make every Thanksgiving.
Made with a whole lotta squash and plumped up with white corn, this pureed chowder has a serious kick, thanks to chipotle chili peppers (which you can take down a notch for tender palates).
While Bon Appetit magazine says you’re supposed to form, freeze and fry your own goat cheese croutons to float on top (puh-leeze), I find that a dollop of fresh goaty goodness in each bowl is all that’s required. I also forgo the pancetta and substitute veggie broth for chicken broth—it’s plenty rich without the meat. You too can add this bullet point to your bag of tricks: Just search “butternut-corn chowder” on epicurious.com.
ALL MASHED UP
From Rachel Hart, editorial director
My recipe comes courtesy of Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef cookbook that I bought whilst in London before he was Jamie Oliver here years ago.
His recipes don't really bother with measurements, but rather offer instructions like "take a knob of butter and mash it all up."
So, in that spirit: Take steamed/boiled butternut squash, boiled potatoes, boiled celeriac (celery root), mash it all up, and add a bunch of butter, salt and pepper to taste. It's delish with pork tenderloin!
IN A DELICIOUS PASTA MEDLEY
From Kate Calamusa, fashion editor
This is a (very) modified butternut squash pasta recipe that I originally I got from the Seattle Pi, but I added awesomeness courtesy of sausage and pecorino!
Mix together cut butternut squash and onion with brown sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil and a dash of red pepper flakes. Roast at 400 degrees, shake veggies occasionally; squash will soften. Once it begins to caramelize, throw in big handfuls of curly endive or some other hearty green. Once those have crisped up (about 3-5 minutes), pull them out of the oven.
In a big ceramic roaster, mix in cooked penne pasta and cooked crumbled Italian sausage with the roasted veggies. Mix in 1/2 cup of cream, salt and pepper and top with a (generous) layer of pecorino cheese. Broil 5 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.
AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE
From Bond Huberman, online editor
Get yourself a Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli meal. Follow instructions on box. Eat.