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Falling For Squash

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squashWhen the leaves begin to fall and the gardens are put to rest for the season it tends to be all about the pumpkin.   The pumpkin steals so much of the autumn attention that it can sometimes it can be hard to remember that fall is full of other seasonal vegetables that are ripe for the picking too.  Case in point is the fall ready butternut squash that fills up the farmer’s market stalls and supermarkets this time of year.

I know what you’re thinking.  Squash?  My kids won’t eat squash.  It may take a bit of work, but even a junior cook can dress up this multi-talented veggie so that even the pickiest of eaters will have a hard time passing it up.   All it takes is a little bit of imagination and a few other seasonal ingredients to turn the butternut squash into a family favorite.

When you couple the warm tenderness of roasted butternut squash with the comforts of maple syrup and apple cider, you’ve got a winning combination that can fill a bevy of roles on an autumn dinner table.  Throw in some dried cranberries and toasted walnuts and it can be hard to beat.  From a stunning side dish to an amazing salad, this combination of autumn’s bounty will draw rave reviews from a famished family.

We’ve come up with the perfect roasted squash side dish that will compliment everything from a roast chicken to pork chops on the grill.  The added bonus is that the leftovers will easily turn into the ideal fall inspired salad for lunch the next day.

doB Roasted Butternut Squash:

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into approximately 3/4-inch cubes

2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the diced butternut squash in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the mixture over the squash and stir until covered.  Place squash on a sheet pan. Roast the squash for 20-25 minutes.  Turn once during roasting.  Add the cranberries to the pan during the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Remove from the oven when the squash is fork tender.

Serve as a side dish and save the leftovers or roast a bit extra to serve on tomorrow’s salad!

doB Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

3/4 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 large shallot, minced

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

6 oz arugula

1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

You’ve already done the hard work roasting the squash the day before.  Today just toss it in the microwave for a few seconds to reheat.  While the squash is getting warmed up, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes.  The cider will be reduced down to about 1/4 cup.   Remove from heat and whisk in the mustard, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and top with the roasted squash mixture, walnuts, and grated Parmesan. Carefully spoon on just enough vinaigrette to dress the salad and toss together.  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate any unused vinaigrette to top some tasty salads for up to two weeks

Recipes adapted by Rootie Tootie from Ina Garten’s “Back to Basics”.

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