Tag Archives: Winter Squash

Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon-Toast Croutons

Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon-Toast Croutons

When it comes to soups, I highly prefer chunky soups over the pureed variety. I need something to chew with each spoonful. Pureed soups often don’t do it for me, with one major exception: butternut squash soup. It’s one of my fall season favorites, and I try out a different recipe every year.

I have one hard-and-fast, persnickety rule: it can’t be too sweet. Butternut squash is inherently sweet, so I firmly believe it doesn’t need any help in that department, and in fact could use a little bit of “hindrance” from decidedly savory ingredients. My favorite things to put into butternut squash soup are ingredients like bacon, parmesan, bitter greens, smoked cheese and the like. Cubes of bread roasted with a liberal amount of cinnamon sugar has never topped the list. Until now, that is.

Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon-Toast Croutons

I know I’ll fail at adequately explaining to you how delicious this soup combination is, but suffice it to say, outstanding is a mild understatement. The soup itself was incredibly tasty and well-rounded and really let the squash’s flavor shine. The cinnamon-sugar croutons were something I’d happily make just to snack on by themselves. Using earthy multi-grain bread ensures the sweetness is somewhat tempered; and yet it fondly reminded me of the cinnamon toast my mom would make us for breakfast when I was little.

But I think the best part of this meal comes when you top your soup with an embarrassing amount of croutons: some of the cinnamon sugar migrates from the croutons to float around in and richly flavor your soup, and it just tastes so amazing! So perfect. Enjoy!

Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon-Toast Croutons

Source: Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

Ingredients:

CROUTONS:
2 cups multigrain bread cubes, preferably a bit stale
1-2 tbs olive oil
4 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

SOUP:
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Kosher salt, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs amaretto
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
Black pepper, to taste
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Chopped toasted pecans, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
First make the CROUTONS: preheat your oven to 400 F. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sugar, and cinnamon. Spread the cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden and crunchy, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the croutons cool on the sheet. Try not to eat too many while you’re making the soup.
Now make the SOUP: heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. Now add the onions with a pinch of salt and stir. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute, then pour in the amaretto. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the squash cubes and stock to the pot. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes. Once the squash is soft, remove the pot from the heat and either carefully pour the soup into your blender and puree until smooth, or hit it with an immersion blender. Either way, make sure you turn the heat off the pot. Once the soup is pureed and creamy, transfer it back to the soup pot (if necessary) and heat over low heat. Pour in the cream and stir to combine. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with so many croutons and garnish with a sprinkling of scallions, and pecans, if desired.

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

This cold winter is really making an aggressively menacing effort to sabotage my weight loss efforts. I’ve got nine more pounds to go, and those nine pounds may just have to wait until spring. I’m serious. It’s not that I don’t want to lose them, it’s not that I’m not cognizant of my dietary and exercising efforts; it’s more that the cave man part of my brain is taking over and telling me that I need tons of animal fats and carbs to store up energy for this stupid cold weather we’re having. And it’s pretty difficult to talk back to that very strong voice.

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

I try, of course. I tell it that I’m living in the 21st century, which means that I have access to all kinds of modern conveniences my cave man ancestors did not: winter coats, hats and gloves and scarves, indoor plumbing, indoor heating, any blanket I want, sweatshirts, long underwear…

It doesn’t matter. The inner voice persists, quite loudly sometimes. That’s why I am so thrilled that spaghetti squash is still in season. And that’s why I was even more thrilled to find that Kevin posted this recipe that includes a very hearty, meaty, cheesy lasagna type thing that nestles over spaghetti squash. I feel like Kevin is really looking out for both my inner cave man and my current waistline! Haha!

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

Spaghetti squash is low-carb, of course, but it’s also filling and nutritious. And while not a pasta replacement, it is quite tasty on its own. In this dish we’ll be tossing that cooked spaghetti squash with lots of cheesy goodness: ricotta, Fontina, and some basil for extra flavor. It’s then topped with a hearty, warm, stick-to-your-ribs Italian sausage and tomato sauce ragu, which is then topped with more Fontina and melted under the broiler.

Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

It’s PERFECT for cold winter nights, and it’s also pretty figure-friendly. You could sub in ground turkey for even fewer calories if you wanted, not to mention you could use low-fat ricotta and part-skim low moisture mozzarella for the Fontina.

And most importantly, this is really delicious. How could it not be? There’s just so much flavor here, and it’s so filling and satisfying without much guilt. And not nearly as time-consuming as actual lasagna, so score!! Enjoy this one guys! And try to stay warm!

Italian Sausage Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Boats

{One Year Ago: Margarita Fish Tacos}
{Two Years Ago: Giant Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Glaze}

Source: slightly adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients:
2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 tbs olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casings
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs basil, chopped, divided
1 cup ricotta
6-8 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded, divided

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a silpat. Brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with 1 tbs olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast, skin side up, in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes. You know when it’s done when a sharp paring knife can be inserted into the flesh and removed with no resistance.
Meanwhile, make the ragu. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle in the remaining tbs olive oil. Add the sausage and crumble with a sturdy spoon. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook until tender, another 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and fennel and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, paprika, balsamic vinegar, plus salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, to let the flavors marry and the tomato sauce thicken. Stir in the basil and turn the heat to very low.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and let cool just slightly. Using a fork, scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash into a large bowl, taking care not to break or crack the spaghetti squash shells. Add the ricotta, remaining tbs basil, and a medium-sized handful of the shredded Fontina. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well, evenly coating the strands of squash with the cheese.
Nestle the cheesy spaghetti squash strands back in the spaghetti squash shells, using a spoon to make an indentation, or a “bowl” in the center of each. Spoon the sausage ragu evenly into the 4 boats, then top each with the remaining shredded Fontina.
Broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Savory Butternut Squash Crumble

Savory Butternut Squash Crumble 5638

Welcome to another day in the life of what I should probably just call a Texan New Yorker Thanksgiving Countdown! Today I’m sharing another dish that you could easily serve at your Thanksgiving dinner in about two and a half weeks (yikes!!). And, may I just say, I really think you should serve this one.

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Savory Butternut Squash Crumble 5622

This recipe is a savory crumble, or crisp (whichever you prefer to call it), and while making crumbles a savory side dish option is quite common in areas of Europe, I hadn’t ever heard of or experienced this on my side of the Atlantic. Would it be uncouth to say I’m feeling slightly resentful?

Savory butternut squash crumble 5628

Savory crumbles are a culinary revelation for me! WHY haven’t I tasted one of these before?! Now this one in particular features butternut squash, thus making it perfect as a Thanksgiving side dish, but I’m very eager to brainstorm and play around with the idea and see what other veggies could be accommodated in savory crumble form.

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I was so in love, every time I ate some. You just have to try this one. It’s simply tops. And leftovers reheat beautifully. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Pie Fudge}

Source: My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

FILLING:
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs olive oil
4 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into ¾-inch cubes
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup peeled and thinly sliced shallots
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbs finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

TOPPING:
¾ cup fresh or dried bread crumbs
½ cup coarse-ground yellow cornmeal or polenta
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs minced fresh sage leaves
1 tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste
4 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 large egg

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease a shallow 3-quart baking dish. Set aside.
To make the squash FILLING, heat 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the squash and half the thyme. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until the squash pieces begin to brown on several sides.
Add half the shallots and cook another few minutes, until they’re softened. Add ½ cup stock and cook about 30 seconds, stirring, to reduce the stock a bit and heat everything through. Scrape the squash mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Wipe the pan clean and heat the remaining 1 tbs butter and olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Cook the rest of the squash and thyme the same way, seasoning it with salt and pepper, and adding the remaining shallots and ½ cup stock, stirring. Scrape the cooked squash mixture into the baking dish, stir in the parsley, then press the mixture into a relatively even layer. Cover the dish snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until the squash is pretty soft, but not mushy when you poke it with a sharp paring knife.
While the squash bakes, make the TOPPING. Combine the bread crumbs, cornmeal, Parmesan, sage, sugar, salt and black pepper in your food processor. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is completely incorporated. Add the egg and pulse a few more times until the mixture just starts clumping together in bits.
Remove the squash from the oven, remove the aluminum foil, and cover evenly with the bread crumb topping. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 F and return the dish to the oven. Bake about 20 minutes, until the topping is golden brown, then serve.

Butternut Squash, Onion, and Espresso Bruschetta

Butternut Squash, Onion, and Espresso Bruschetta 5835

Does your family have Thanksgiving appetizers? I tend to think they are necessary. I mean, usually on Thanksgiving Day, you have the one large meal, but generally it’s not served until mid to late afternoon. Obviously eating a regular sized lunch is out of the question, but asking people to not eat anything until the big meal is a bit unreasonable. A little snack earlier in the day is a necessity.

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And this year, I think you should shake things up and serve these wonderful little bruschettas. Nothing about them was the least bit unbalanced. All the diverse flavors melded perfectly together in one harmonious bite (though rest assured, you’ll take more than one bite!).

This is fairly easy to throw together too, as steps can be taken ahead of time, and it’s supposed to be served around-ish room temperature anyway (a little warm is also just fine though). The butternut puree is incredibly thick, kind of like peanut butter! I was a bit skeptical, but that wasn’t needed – it was perfect. The espresso powder sprinkled on top might sound weird, but it works soooooo well. It provides a bitter note that perfectly balances out the sweetness of the squash.

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I think I’m using the word “perfect” a little too often, but well, that says it all! Try this one, either as a snack earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, or a wonderful h’or d’oerve at a holiday cocktail party. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash, Onion and Espresso bruschetta 5823

{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Scones, Bacon-Wrapped Monkfish with Apple-Shallot Jam}
{Two Years Ago: Sweet Potato Biscuits, Chili Dogs}

Source: slightly adapted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Ingredients:
2 cups peeled, cubed, and seeded butternut squash (about 1 small)
1 small onion, roots cut off and quartered
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs olive oil
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne
1 loaf Italian semolina bread, sliced on the diagonal and grilled or toasted
Instant espresso powder, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Spread the butternut squash and onion quarters on a baking sheet, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and then drizzle with olive oil. Shake the pan or toss to evenly coat everything. Bake until the squash is soft and golden, 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then scrape the contents of the baking sheet into your food processor.
Add the cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne. Process until very smooth. Using a small cereal spoon or a butter knife, spread a dollop of puree onto each bread slice. Sprinkle a small amount of espresso powder on top of the puree. Set out on a platter or tray and let your guests dig in.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

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So, growing up, I don’t think we ever served a salad at Thanksgiving. Or did we? Perhaps we did, and I just didn’t eat it. It wouldn’t have been the only thing at the spread that I declined (stuffing/dressing, cranberry sauce…). Care to weigh in, Mom? 🙂

But, even if my family of origin (probably) didn’t have salads at our Thanksgiving table, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t, or shouldn’t. If you want a seasonal, light yet satisfying salad before carving your bird, please look no further. This one is fantastic. I was so in love…

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I served just this as our dinner one night last week (a good option if you also decline salads at the Thanksgiving table) and I had zero problems plowing through two plates of it. The sweetness of the squash balances out with the bitterness of the baby arugula, and then you play off those flavors with a slightly sweet apple-y vinaigrette and salty cheese. The crunch of toasted pecans plays in perfectly, rounding out the bowl and proving that a good salad is a thoughtfully-constructed feat.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette 5589

I highly recommend you make this one before the season is up. It is soooo unbelievably good. Enjoy!

{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Apple Cake}

Source: slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

Ingredients:
1 (1 ½ lb.) butternut squash, peeled and diced
Olive oil
1 tbs maple syrup
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs dried cranberries
6 tbs cloudy apple cider
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs minced shallots
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 oz. baby arugula
½ cup pecans, toasted
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Place the squash on a sheet pan. Drizzle with about 2 tbs olive oil, the maple syrup, plus salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan in the last 5 minutes of roasting.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, cider vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook about 6 minutes, until reduced to 2-3 tbs. Remove from the heat, whisk in the mustard, ¼ cup olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture and the pecans. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Garnish with the cheese and extra black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Anchovy Marinara

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Spaghetti squash doesn’t have a terribly long season here in New York, and for many years I’ve only made it once per season (this fabulous dish, every time). And then I woke up and realized, that is rather dumb of me. This year we will have it at least twice! And not the same way twice.

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Spaghetti squash is named so because after you roast it, you scrape out the insides with a fork, and it comes out in strands, like spaghetti. And it happens to pair well with thick, hearty pasta-type sauces. But that is not because it tastes like pasta (it doesn’t), it’s because its inherent flavor is very mild, enabling it to take on bold, saucy flavors without masking or marring anything about the squash itself, and because it is easy to toss with sauces, due to the strands and all.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with spicy anchovy marinara 5125

I adored this dish. And best of all, it’s very customizable to you and your family’s palates. Want it less spicy? Cut back or eliminate the crushed chile flakes. You can also leave out the anchovies, but unless you’re wanting this to be vegetarian, please don’t. They are so delicious and not at all fishy tasting. And they melt into the sauce – no chunks to be worried about when you serve dinner. Enjoy this one, y’all!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Spicy anchovy marinara 5129

{One Year Ago: Apple Butter Doughnuts}

Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
2 medium spaghetti squash
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 flat anchovy fillets
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 generous tsp crushed red chile flakes
Leaves from 2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
½ cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 parmesan cheese rind
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, with their juices
A few fresh basil leaves, torn
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle lightly with oil, or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
Using a *very* sharp and large knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Using a regular cereal spoon, scoop out the seeds. Season the cut sides of each squash with salt and pepper. Place them, cut side down, on the baking sheet and roast for 45-60 minutes. Mine were very good to go after only 45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a paring knife into the skin side of the largest squash half. It should go in with no resistance.
Turn the squash halves over, and use pot holders or oven mitts to hold them while you scrape the flesh out into a bowl with a fork. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the “spaghetti” and taste for seasoning. Stir the “spaghetti” to evenly coat it with the oil. Do not discard the squash shells.
While the squash is roasting, make the marinara. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the anchovies and shake the pan a bit to get them heated and moving around a little. Stand back because they spit daggers, and when they start to melt, lower the heat and mash them with a stirring spoon. Add the onion and saute at medium heat until softened. Add the garlic, chile flakes, and oregano, and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and stir 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, then add the stock, tomatoes, and parmesan rind. Use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes. Keep at a gentle simmer and let the flavors meld for about 10-15 minutes.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Remember the anchovies are very salty, so you may not need anything.
To assemble, spoon the “spaghetti” evenly back into the squash shells and top with marinara. Toss some torn basil over each and garnish with parmesan cheese to your heart’s desire. Serve immediately.
Leftovers will work if you transfer the “spaghetti” out of the shell and into a food storage container.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Chowder #SundaySupper

Butternut Squash and Spinach Chowder 4712

Welcome to Sunday Supper, where our theme this week is Fabulous Fall Foods! I’ve met the theme requirements – this chowder features butternut squash (a fall produce item), and it tastes amazingly fabulous. Thank goodness the theme wasn’t Fabulous Fall Food Photography, because then I would have a major problem.

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I found this recipe in one of my many cookbooks, “Slow Cooker Revolution” by America’s Test Kitchen. In the cookbook, there is no picture of this recipe. I now understand that. When you think about any kind of butternut squash chowder, you think of it being a gorgeous orange-ish color. But as you can plainly see, this chowder is rather green, thanks to the spinach. So I’m left with the problem of the pictures not entirely matching the recipe description, which is probably precisely why ATK didn’t include a photograph in their cookbook!

Butternut Squash and Spinach chowder 4734

Ah well, what are you gonna do? I promise from the bottom of my heart that it’s delicious, misleading color and all. And when I make it again, I will include the spinach again! Other than it messing up the chowder’s color, I actually do love it in there. It adds significant healthful properties, and it really cuts the squash’s sweetness.

Butternut squash and spinach chowder 4722

I have to admit, I don’t love it when winter squash soups are too sweet. I never add any brown sugar, and I love ingredients like bacon bits, bacon fat, and salty cheeses to cut the richness. The spinach only adds to that. So in the end, I really love this chowder, even if I don’t love my pictures all that much. I hope you will love it too!

Butternut Squash and spinach chowder 4724

Oh, and be sure you check out all my other Sunday Supper peeps – they’ve brought some drool-worthy perfect-for-fall recipes to the table today!

{One Year Ago: Funnel Cakes}
{Two Years Ago: Chocolate Crepes with Rum Whipped Cream, Shrimp and Grits}

Source: adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:
At least 4 oz. bacon, chopped, more if you want it
1 onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 bunch (roughly 8 oz.) adult spinach, stemmed
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbs minced fresh sage
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it is nice and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve for later.
Pour out all but about 2 tbs bacon fat, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened. Add the thyme, nutmeg, plus salt and pepper. Stir and cook 1 minute. Now add the flour and stir for about 1 minute to cook out the pasty, raw flour taste. Slowly add up to 2 cups of the chicken stock, stirring out any lumps and letting the whole thing thicken up nicely. Shut off the heat and add this mixture to your slow cooker insert. Also add to the slow cooker, the remaining chicken stock, vegetable stock, half the squash, and the bay leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Toss the remaining squash with the olive oil, plus salt and pepper. Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on a flat work surface and carefully transfer the squash to the center of it. Gather it in the center and fold the foil up around it to create a foil packet and lays somewhat flat. Lay the foil packet on top of the soup in the slow cooker. Close the lid and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, until the squash in the slow cooker is tender and completely cooked.
Transfer the foil packet to a plate. Open it, being cautious of steam hitting you in the face, and then pour the squash and the juices into the slow cooker. Add the spinach leaves. Stir them in, then cover the slow cooker again and cook another 30 minutes, until the spinach is nicely wilted.
Shut off the heat. Discard the bay leaves. Then hit the soup with an immersion blender. Take your time and be sure the soup is really well-pureed. Now stir in the cream and sage, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or nutmeg as needed.
Serve in bowls garnished with the bacon bits and grated parmesan.

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Sunday SupperJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Beef Ragu over Spaghetti Squash #SundaySupper

Beef ragu over spaghetti squash 091

Welcome to Sunday Supper!! The theme this week happens to be Squash Fest. Very open, and given the time of year, some of us are featuring fall vegetables while others have summer squash recipes. I chose one of my favorite kinds of squash, which is just coming in season where I’m at – the spaghetti squash!!

Beef Ragu over Spaghetti squash 123

Now, we should be very clear about one thing: spaghetti squash is not pasta, despite its name, despite the fact that it gets nicknamed “low-carb pasta” and despite that it’s often featured with traditional pasta sauces. I must warn you, if you serve the recipe I’m blogging today to your family and tell them they’re having pasta, you are on the fast track to some major unpopularity in your own home, my friend. Arguing that spaghetti squash tastes like pasta is like trying to convince someone that Taco Bell is real Mexican food – you’ve lost the argument before you even open your mouth.

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But, I still adore spaghetti squash. I don’t ask it to be pasta, I just love it for what it is. Its flavor is very “blank slate” which means it soaks up a hearty meaty tomato sauce very nicely. And because this isn’t pasta, it is way lower calorie, which excuses the extra piece of garlic bread and extra glass of wine. Don’t you love my logic? 🙂

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This is honestly one of my favorite meals, and I make it whenever spaghetti squash comes into season. I mean, of course I love me some pasta, and like I said, spaghetti squash could never replace it. But this squash stands proudly on its own merits, and I look forward to this meal all year long. Enjoy! And please be sure you check out my Sunday Supper gang – tons of fall and summer squash recipes today!

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{One Year Ago: Cheddar Pecan Wafers, Naan Bread, Italian Prune Plum Crisp, Blackberry Pie Bars, Pulled Lamb Barbecue Sandwiches}
{Two Years Ago: Whole Wheat Ricotta Raspberry Scones}

Source: slightly adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Oct/Nov 2009

Ingredients:
1 small to medium spaghetti squash
1 tbs olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef (I used sirloin)
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1-2 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Garlic bread, for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Oil or grease a 9×13″ baking dish. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Lay the squash halves cut side down in the baking dish and roast for 30-40 minutes, until a sharp paring knife can cut through the skin and into the flesh with no resistance. Turn the squash halves over and let them cool until you can handle them.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the beef. Crumble the beef with a spoon and cook until no traces of pink remain. Add the shallot and garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. Add the tomatoes, oregano, plus salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/4 cup water and let it all simmer for about 10 minutes.
Using a fork, rake the squash flesh into strands and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper, plus a small drizzle of olive oil.
Lower the heat on the ragu to low, toss in the basil and parmesan. Stir to combine.
To serve, mound some squash strands onto a dinner plate, then spoon some ragu over. Garnish with extra basil, if desired, and sprinkle on more parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 generous servings.

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Butternut Squash Pie with Cinnamon-Brandy Whipped Cream #SundaySupper

Butternut Squash Pie with Cinnamon-Brandy Whipped Cream

Welcome to Sunday Supper! This week we are Squashin’ Winter with winter squash. We could make anything we wanted, so long as it involved one of the winter squashes. After some internal debate, I chose to go with this lovely butternut squash pie. I am certainly no stranger to butternut squash, but having it in dessert form was a first for me. I’m certain it won’t be a last.

roasting butternut squash

This pie was incredible! I know it kind of looks like pumpkin pie, and yes, the ingredient list and the method was extremely similar to making pumpkin pie. But it truly did taste different from its more ubiquitous pumpkin cousin.

butternut squash, before baking

As an aside, thank goodness it didn’t taste just like pumpkin pie, because if I can be perfectly frank with you, this was a lot more work than your average pumpkin pie! Well, maybe not this pumpkin pie, but most of them, yes. So had it tasted identical to pumpkin pie, where you just open a can, I might have been a bit irritated. But, no need for any annoyance whatsoever, as this pie tasted distinctly like butternut squash. It was so delicious, a nice change-up from the usual, and worth the extra effort. Though I’m seeing cans of butternut squash in the stores these days, so I’m sure you could always use that and cut back on the work.

Butternut Squash pie

Okay, confession time. At first, I’d planned to not tell you this, but integrity got the better of me, and I must admit that I came up with this whipped topping to hide a giant crack in the middle of my pie. I couldn’t believe that happened, I was so horrified! It’s like a Grand Canyon in the middle of my otherwise beautiful pie! So I hid it with a delicious, spiked whipped cream, something I would recommend even if your pie doesn’t crack open on you.

my cracked pie :(
{Oh the humanity…}

Recipe notes: this pie is fairly straightforward, just a few notes. I made a rather thin layer of the whipped topping, simply because I hadn’t planned on Moses parting my pie down the middle, and I only had half a cup of cream to begin with. Feel free to double the cream recipe and pile it high! Secondly, as written you’ll probably have leftover pie filling; pour it into an oven-proof gratin dish and bake it alongside the pie, for about half the total baking time. You’ll have an adorable little custard cup waiting on you!

butternut squash pie

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the fabulous Sunday Supper team! As always, I’ve linked to them below the recipe.

butternut squash pie

{One year ago: Balsamic and Beer-Braised Short Ribs}

Source: adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Ingredients:
PIE:
2 pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
1/2 cup milk
4 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy
1 cup heavy cream
one 9-inch prebaked pie crust

WHIPPED CREAM:
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbs brandy
1 heaping tbs confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Extra ground cinnamon for dusting top of pie

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Place the squash halves on the prepared baking sheet, skin side down, and bake until the squash is tender, about 45 minutes. You should be able to insert a paring knife into the thickest part without meeting resistance. Remove from the oven and decrease oven temperature to 375 F.
Let the squash cool slightly, just until you can handle it, then scoop the flesh into the bowl of a large food processor. Add the milk and 1 egg. Puree the squash until it is mostly broken up and becoming smooth. Now add the remaining eggs, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and brandy and puree until combined. Stop and scrape down the bowl as necessary. Once this mixture is smooth, add the cream and puree again just to combine.
Pour the filling into the prebaked pie shell. Bake until the filling is just barely set in the center – it should be jiggly but not liquidy – about 30-35 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature before adding the whipped cream.
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. Pour the heavy cream into a clean bowl, and use an electric mixer to beat it until soft peaks form. Now add the brandy, sugar, and pinch of ground cinnamon and beat again until stiff peaks form.
To assemble, dollop the whipped cream into the center of the pie, and use an offset spatula or butter knife to evenly spread it evenly around the pie. I like to leave a little bit of the pie peaking out at the edges. Dust with a pinch of cinnamon in the center.

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Wine Pairing Recommendations for Squashin’ Winter #SundaySupper from Enofylz Wine Blog

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos

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Growing up, I had my fair share of tacos. Okay, probably more than my fair share. But they came in three, and only three, different flavors: steak, ground beef, and chicken. And that’s it. Well, okay, there were a few breakfast tacos thrown in there too, but my non-breakfast tacos came in only those three versions. If you also grew up in Texas, you’re nodding along. If you grew up elsewhere, it’s possible that you find that odd.

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Yet it’s true – Texans love their tacos, but we aren’t very adventurous with the fillings (at least we weren’t in the 1980’s). I was well into my twenties when I tried my first fish taco, and when I told my mom about it, her reaction was along the lines of “You ate what???”

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So …. drum roll please … this was my very first vegetarian taco. (Yes, the breakfast tacos always included bacon or sausage, so those cannot be counted.) I had seriously never eaten one before I made this recipe! I don’t know if I should feel proud or ashamed. But when and where I grew up, vegetarian tacos were simply not done.

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I’m glad I have broken that mold and tried one. It won’t be my last meat-free taco. I found it delicious and light, full of familiar Mexican flavors but without the Tex-Mex grease that occasionally hitches a ride to the tortilla. There was definitely some love there.

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So let’s talk spaghetti squash for a moment. I love it, and I think it’s cool. I love how it starts out as this hard, uncompromising lump of a vegetable, and then turns into silky, tender strands of yumminess with just your fork once it’s cooked. I love doing the fork shred thing, it’s so fun! As much as I love it though, I wasn’t sure how spaghetti squash was going to fare in a Mexican staple. But Mexicans do use lots of squash in their cooking, so it was quite a good fit. The taste was vegetarian, but the texture was so hearty it almost felt like eating shredded meat. I would definitely make this meal again! Try it, (even you Texans), and see what you think.

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Source: lightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients:
3 lb. spaghetti squash
Olive or canola oil
2 tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Kosher salt and black pepper
16 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed until pliable
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz. crumbled Cotija or queso fresco
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Brush a baking sheet with oil and place the squash halves face down. Discard the seeds. Roast the squash for 40 minutes.
Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool slightly. Working over a bowl, use a fork to scrape out the flesh in strands. Discard the skin.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Pour over the squash and toss gently to coat. Taste the squash and adjust the seasonings if need be.
To serve, take a warm tortilla and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of black beans, 2 tablespoons of the spiced squash, 2 teaspoons of cheese, a couple pinches each of onions and cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges.