Cooking with squash

Friday, August 3, 2012
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We kind of cheated with this issue's featured ingredient. Squash is pretty broad -- there are dozens of varieties of the vegetable. But squash is versatile, accessible, nutritious and, most importantly, delicious. And though some varieties are labeled "summer," they're usually available year-round. Others, like acorn and butternut squash, have a nutty flavor that is perfect for fall.

Roasted summer squash

This is one of my go-to dishes for large family gatherings. It's cheap, easy and serves a whole bunch of people. And it tastes just as good, maybe better, when it's at room temperature.


Two small/medium or one large yellow squash

Two small/medium or one large zucchini

One red onion

Olive oil

Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the yellow squash and zucchini into cubes (about 1/2 inch thick), and do the same to the onion. Place them on a baking sheet with sides. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss to combine, making sure all the vegetables are coated with the oil. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once, about halfway through the cooking time. (Sometimes I add a few crushed garlic cloves and remove before serving. Adjust the recipe to suit your taste.)

-- Recipe from Heather Collier

Stuffed acorn squash


2 acorn squash

1 pound ground turkey

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 to 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons whole fennel seed

1 container of whole mushrooms, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bunch of kale, chopped

1/2 cup beef broth

1/2 cup panko

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


Take acorn squash and carefully cut into even halves. Sprinkle salt and pepper into each half and place in 400-degree oven. Cook for approximately 1 hour.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil and add chopped onions and mushrooms. Cook until softened, then add ground turkey. Cook and crumble for about 10 minutes, add seasonings and stir. Cook ground turkey until browned; add chopped kale. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so, add beef broth and panko and bring down to a simmer. Cook slowly until all of broth is absorbed. Set aside.

Spoon turkey mixture into each acorn squash half. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and place under broiler for about 5 to 8 minutes, until cheese is browned.

-- Recipe from Aggie's Kitchen

Baked spaghetti squash with garlic and butter


1 small spaghetti squash (about 3 to 4 pounds)

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup finely minced parsley (or basil)

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape). Bake spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.

Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds. Continue using fork to scrape the squash to get strands. If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Heat a large saute pan with the butter and garlic over medium-low heat. When garlic becomes fragrant, add parsley, salt and spaghetti squash strands. Toss well, sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need additional salt. The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch (i.e. not mushy), but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook 2 more minutes.

-- Recipe from

Butternut squash gratin


3 pounds butternut squash, peeled (I used two medium-sized squash)

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, sliced lengthwise

1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped sage

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the butternut squash into 1/2 rounds, then quarter each round. Remove seeds. Toss the diced squash in the apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange on a large baking sheet and generously salt and pepper.

Roast squash until cooked through but still firm, about 30 to 35 minutes. While the squash is roasting, caramelize the onions. Place in a medium skillet over a low flame. Cover, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and jammy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

Grease a medium cast-iron skillet or casserole dish. Arrange a layer of squash, followed by a layer of onions. Add the remaining squash. Sprinkle the Gruyere cheese evenly over the squash, followed by the toasted hazelnuts and one tablespoon of the sage.

Bake the gratin until the cheese is golden and melted, about another 20 or 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining sage.

-- Recipe from