I LOVE butternut squash. This flavorful and tasty winter squash has a nutty, sweet taste, similar to that of a pumpkin. The darker and deeper the orange of the flesh, the richer and sweeter it is. Here are some tips that I found in Real Simple Magazine about how to select and prepare the fall/winter treat:
Choosing the Squash:
Pick a squash that is heavy with smooth, butterscotch-colored skin that looks dusty. The steam should be intact and dry. If the skin is shinny that means it was picked to early.
An uncut squash will last for up to three months at room temp. Cut squash, wrapped tightly, will last one week in the refrigerator.
Start by cutting crosswise at the base of the neck, separating the neck from the bottom. Next using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from both pieces until you get down to the brightly colored flesh. Cut the bulb in half and using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut the bulb and neck into pieces as desired.
I have made a variety of recipes using winter squash, so I took two favorites and combined them into one winner! I would recommend serving the pasta with a green vegetable (such as brussel sprouts) on the side, for a complete dinner.
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces - approx 3 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound pene pasta or other tubular pasta
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
10 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
1/2 cup parmesan
1 cup ricotta
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Placed cut butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season with salt. Roast in Oven until squash is browned and tender (15-25 minutes)
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid and set pasta and reserved liquid aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skilled over medium. Cook onion until becomes translucent. Add crushed pepper and sage. Add penne and squash and toss gentley, adding reserved liquid as necessary to moisten (not a lot).
4. Add parmesan and black pepper and cook, tossing gently until pasta and squash are headed thoroughly. Serve immediately with more grated cheese and a dollop of ricotta if desired.