|Pretty pumpkins and gourds outside a Copenhagen florist|
Remember how I whinged on about autumn in this Greek salad recipe post and in this Aperol Spritz recipe post? One of the ways in which I persuade myself it's not all bad is to buy silly squash and gourds to lump onto the mantelpiece in an effort to brighten up the house. But today kinda feels like the Twelfth Night of Halloween and it's time to clear the decks.
With three beautifully gnarly pumpkins loitering on the worktop, I tried to remember whether the greengrocer sign specified decorative or whether they could be eaten. I took to Google. Luckily, this winter squash identifier from Epicurious has solved the mystery.
|Winter squash identifier|
So mine - all edible - are:
3. The squat and sweet Red Kabocha
4. The mellow Carnival
8. A much greener version of the bumpy, lumpy Blue Hubbard (I think).
Oh, and I stoopidly bought a butternut on Friday, forgetting that I have plenty of pumpkin to be getting on with. But what to do with them?
The Red Kabocha has already been dealt with, as it was beginning to develop a bit of bloom. Freestyling a bit, I quartered it, scraped out the seeds and lay each chunk skin-side down. Into the little vessels I place a clove of garlic, a pinch of chilli flakes and some salt, along with a small blob of coconut oil, and roasted in the oven for 20 minutes or so. This roasted, spiced squash is going to form the basis of today's lunch - seven seed sourdough toast, squashed roast squash, a drizzle of tahini and a sprinkling of parsley.
Anna Jones, author of two of my favourite cook books, has a brilliant recipe for Roasted Coconut, Lime and Tamarind Curry, which calls for a butternut, acorn or kabocha squash. I made it last week with a pumpkin donated to me by a neighbour from his allotment, and it was fabulous. Recipe note - the 500g coconut is a typo and should be 50g!
This is one from my book, The Mount Athos Diet - Spaghetti with Leeks and Butternut Squash. It serves 4.
You will need:
1 large butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
200g wholewheat or spelt spaghetti
1 medium leek, white part only, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Boil a large pan of water and add the butternut squash chunks. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon (reserving the pan and water for cooking the spaghetti) and place in a bowl. Add the pasta to the pan and cook according to the packet instructions. Blend the squash using a hand-held stick blender or mash with a potato masher until it is a puree. Add a little olive oil to a large pan and set over a medium heat. Add the leeks and crushed garlic and saute until soft and beginning to brown. Add the squash puree together with the sage and parmesan, then season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, use a little of the pasta water to thin it down. Once cooked, add the drained spaghetti to the sauce and stir well. Serve with a little more parmesan if you like.
Risotto is one of my favourite dishes ever and I've probably made squash risotto with sage more than any other kind. Here's Martha Stewart's recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto.
Denis Cotter's Cafe Paradiso in Cork is one of those places that goes down in vegetarian folklore. I've never had the pleasure of visiting the restaurant myself, but have cooked many a beautiful dish from one of his books. This Squash, Potato and Cashew Roti sounds pretty immense.
Moroccan Chickpea and Squash Stew is a dish I cook probably as much as any other - it's warming, sweet and comforting.
Do any of these tickle your fancy? Or have I missed a really obvious squash classic? What do you do with yours?
Read more recipes from Oyster and Pearl if you fancy some culinary inspiration.