Butternut Squash, Two Ways

Here are two easy ways to use one butternut squash. They’re a great introduction to this vegetable if you’ve never used it before. It’s one of my favorite vegetarian foods during the winter — warm in taste and color, comforting, and very adaptable.

Cut off the top, more slender half (the part without the seeds) and use it for the first recipe. Use the bottom, rounder half for the second.

Butternut Squash with Wild Mushrooms
Top half of butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 Tbsp. butter, divided
Half of a leek, chopped
4 cups sliced mushrooms (shiitakes, oysters, or portobellos work best, but regular ones work fine, too)
2 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
4 oz. green beans, chopped into bite-size sections
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup vegetable stock
Dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Toss diced squash with olive oil and roast at 400F/200C until tender.

Melt 1 Tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet over high heat, then add leeks, mushrooms, and shallots. Saute until mushrooms begin to soften. Add squash, garlic, tomatoes, and green beans. Saute until heated through. Deglaze with wine, and when wine has almost disappeared, add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Add the remaining butter and season with oregano, salt, and pepper.

This dish serves four as a side dish, and it also could make a nice topping for fish. It also works really well on its own as a sort of vegetable stew, in which case it would serve two or three.

Baked Butternut Squash
Using a spoon, scrape the seeds from the bottom half. Place in a baking dish, bottom side up, in about 1 inch of water. Bake at 350F/175C for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and fill cavity with 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to bake for 10 minutes. Serves one.

These recipes also work well with acorn squash.

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