Tuesday, October 12, 2010

it is winter squash week...want a recipe for stuffed acorn squash?

i love everything about winter squash. the taste, of course, but i also love the look...beautiful and so "fall like". every year i purchase a bushel of different types of winter squash and use as decorations throughout my home. then i, slowly but surely, use up this bounty in a number of different, delicious recipes. so it is with great pleasure that i announce it is winter squash week at fall fest.

winter squash is one of those magical foods that taste terrific AND is extremely good for you. it is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin c, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. in addition, winter squash is a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin-vitamin B3 and pantothenic acid...but back to the taste...total yum!

i shared some of my favorite recipes a couple of years ago and they still emerge as popular searched topics on this blog....how about roasted red kuri squash? or acorn squash and pinto bean chili with chipotle? or fusilli pasta with roasted delicata squash & fresh sage brown butter sauce?

i thought i would share the fusilli pasta recipe again today...mainly because i made it yesterday after being inspired by this post...there is something about roasted squash paired with a sage & brown butter sauce that just makes me happy...and this is one of my favorite fall meals.

fusilli with roasted delicata squash & fresh sage brown butter
2 delicata squash
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
extra virgin olive oil
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 lb dried fusilli pasta
8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced shallots
15-16 fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
freshly shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese

preheat oven to 400 degrees. peel and seed squash and cut into bite sized pieces. place on cookie sheet, add onions and drizzle with olive oil. add nutmeg, salt & pepper and, using your hands, toss the squash and onions with the oil to ensure evenly coated. place in oven and roast for 30 minutes stirring occasionally until squash is tender and onions are caramelized. remove from oven and set aside. meanwhile cook pasta in boiling, well salted water until al dente. drain well and set aside. melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. cook butter until foamy and slightly brown..do not burn! lower heat to simmer, add olive oil, sage leaves and shallots and cook until shallots are softened and translucent. add squash mixture (including the oil from the pan), pasta, and pine nuts , combine all ingredients and cook until pasta is hot..add additional salt and pepper..taste and adjust seasonings if needed. serve immediately with plenty of cheese.

so...it was 95 degrees in napa today...hard to think about fall menus...but i know in a minute the weather will turn cool and it will be time to think about fall and/or winter meals. stuffed acorn squash with wild rice, pecans and cranberries is one of those perfect-to-have-in-your-back-pocket dishes. it tastes delicious, is easy to make and looks absolutely spectacular with the yellow/orange squash, red cranberries, dark wild rice...the colors alone make this a winner. not to mention a perfect side dish for pork, beef or poultry...and a nice vegetarian main dish for the veggies in your life...leave out the cheese for your vegan friends.

stuffed acorn squash with wild rice, pecans and cranberries
3 cups vegetable broth or water
(1 tsp sea salt if using water)
1 cup wild rice
2 acorn squash, cut in half vertically
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 fresh sage leaves, minced
grey salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
additional e.v.o.o.
balsamic reduction drizzle (recipe follows)

wash uncooked wild rice. place broth or water in a heavy saucepan and, if using water, add 1 tsp kosher salt. bring to a boil. add wild rice and bring back to a boil. reduce heat and simmer, covered, 50-60 minutes or just until kernels puff open. uncover and fluff with fork. replace cover and set aside (off heat) until ready to use in recipe.

preheat oven to 375 degrees. drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. place acorn squash, cut side down, on pan. drizzle 1 tbsp additional oil over squash and sprinkle with sea salt. roast for 40 minutes or until squash can be pierced easily with a knife. remove from oven. when squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out pulp ensuring you do not damage shell. chop pulp into bite size pieces. set aside.

add remaining 2 tablespoons evoo to a large skillet. sauté onions in oil until translucent. add garlic, red pepper flakes, minced sage, pinch of sea salt and a pinch of black pepper and sauté for additional three minutes. add rice, squash pulp, cranberries, pecans and feta (if using) and stir just to combine. taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. mound squash/rice mixture equally between the 4 shells. heat in oven until hot, approx 20 minutes. serve hot, warm or at room temperature drizzled with balsamic reduction.

balsamic reduction
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 tsp organic honey
1 tsp organic agave nectar

add ingredients to saucepan and cook over medium heat until liquid has reduced by half. allow to cool. i always keep this on hand, stored in a mason jar in my refrigerator....drizzle on cheese, fruit (esp strawberries), steak, roasted or poached chicken, steamed vegetables, pound cake....i use this on almost everything...
so there you go...some of my favorite winter squash recipes...and i didn't even mention pumpkins...will save that topic for a bit closer to thanksgiving. are you are winter squash fan? if so, please share your favorite way to prepare...

now it is your turn to participate in fall fest. simply leave your winter squash tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below, and then go visit the collaborators listed on the blog away to garden and do the same.

the cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. yes, copy and paste them everywhere! that way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

always...much thanks to margaret roach and deb puchalla for coordinating fall fest 2010. as always...its been a blast.

best and happy cooking!

diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style™ "
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~ Chef Louise said...

wow that's a lot of recipes. didn't think it would be so hot in napa? i'm here in southern cal and it's coolin down a bit.

I contributed to fall fest a roasted apple and squash soup


~Chef Louise

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi louise...your soups sounds delicious! last week...95 degrees. now cold and rainy all week....fall in the napa valley!

Unknown said...

In the picture at the top left corner of your page, there are 5 squashes. What is the round, dark orange squash in the front of the basket? I bought one last week and can't remember what it is!