Tag Archives: butternut squash

Butternut Squash and Three-Bean Chili

7 Jan

Vegetarian Chili w butternut squashThis is a perfect recipe for these frigid days. You’ll know what I mean if you live anywhere in the top half of North America. If you’re one of the lucky ones who is not freezing your tushie off this week, you might want to save this one for colder days.

The recipe came from my friend Greta Zalman, who adapted it from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine from 2010. It’s very flavorful and – be forewarned – quite spicy.

Our synagogue recently hosted a group of homeless people for a week – Christmas week to be exact. Greta multiplied this recipe by four and served it for Saturday night’s dinner, where it was scarfed up by our guests.

Here a few comments and tips. It’s a lot easier to buy peeled-and-cubed butternut squash from Costco, Whole Foods or Trader Joe than to peel and cube your own, even though it’s quite a bit pricier. Ditto for roasted peppers; buy a jar of them from Trader Joe and save yourself a lot of hassle.

I like to roast the butternut squash before adding it to the pot, but if you’re pressed for time you don’t have to.

If you don’t have the three kinds of beans, use three cans of any kind of beans.

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers (or use a jar of Trader Joe roasted peppers and skip the broiling)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp.crushed red pepper (use less if you like less heat)
1 tsp.paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups peeled butternut squash cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
Shredded cheddar cheese and/or broken tortilla chips for topping, optional

Directions:

If you want to roast the squash, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the squash cubes in a single layer on a lightly oiled  baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash starts to caramelize and brown. Set aside.

Do the next five steps if you don’t have a jar of roasted peppers.

Preheat broiler.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and membranes.

Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 15 minutes, until blackened.

Place pepper halves in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes.

Remove the charred skin and chop the peppers.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin, red pepper, paprike, salt and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add bell peppers, broth, squash, and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans; simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle with green onions and, if desired, shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

Serves 6 to 8

Winter Squash, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta

4 Nov

Butternut Squash and Spinach PastaButternut and other winter squashes are plentiful right now — and I think they are becoming increasingly popular, because I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for them. I love butternut squash, and so I’ll probably be featuring a few recipes for it myself this winter.

This one is adapted from a good food blog I follow called MediterrAsian, which focuses on Mediterranean and Asian foods.

The original recipe called for pumpkin, but I used butternut squash instead. I’m sure the squash or pumpkin tastes fine boiled with the pasta as the recipe directs, but I roasted it ahead of time instead of boiling it, and just put it in with the pasta for a minute to get hot. I also increased the amount of spinach a bit from the original.

You can buy peeled and cubed butternut squash at Trader Joe and other upscale groceries. It’s pricey, but it makes the process much easier.

I used tri-color penne. You can use plain or a similar shaped pasta such as rotini or ziti.

It tasted really good and we had enough left after dinner (for the two of us) for a lunch.

Ingredients:

6 oz. penne pasta
12 oz. pumpkin or winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
3 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ tsp. fresh rosemary, or ½ tsp. dried
3 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese to serve, optional

Directions:

Cook the pasta and pumpkin in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water for 8 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain, reserving 3 Tbs. of the pasta water. You can start on some of the other steps while the pasta is cooking.

If the pine nuts aren’t already toasted, toast them in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned (shake the pan and watch them carefully so they don’t burn). Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same skillet heat 2 Tbs. olive oil and cook the onion for 6 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the pine nuts, salt, pepper, remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and the 3 Tbs. of pasta water.

Toss the pasta and pumpkin with the spinach and onion mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves 3 as a main course or 4 to 6 as a side dish

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup — and some Tuesday Tips

19 Nov

Roasted butternut squash soupThe main Tuesday Tip is that if you don’t already have an immersion blender, put it at the top of your holiday gift list. They’re not all that expensive, and they are invaluable whenever you want to make any kind of pureed soup, like this one. When you’ve got everything cooked and ready to puree, you just stick the immersion blender right in the pot, even if the contents are still hot, and whiz away. In just a few minutes, your dish will be creamy smooth — no need to ladle the stuff out into a counter-top blender in batches.

Another Tuesday Tip is that you can save a lot of time and effort, and spend just a little more money, by buying your squash already peeled and cubed at Trader Joe or Costco.

And the third and final Tuesday Tip is that if you do peel and cube the squash yourself, here is the easiest way to do it:

Cut a thin slice off the squash at both ends. Cut the squash in half crosswise, between the thin part and the part where it starts to bulge out. Then cut the bottom half in two lengthwise; you’ll now have three pieces. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the bottom pieces. Use a vegetable peeler to take the skin off in strips. Be sure to also peel off the thin green lines that lie just beneath the skin.

After you peel all three pieces, cut them into wedges or cubes for your recipe.

Here’s a very short video from Good Housekeeping that shows you how to do it.

This delicious soup recipe comes from Chef Paul Penney, also known as Aussie in the Kitchen. He used to do cooking demonstrations in the workplace for the health insurer provider that my employer used. It’s creamy without being high in fat, and the spices make it very flavorful but not hot.

Ingredients:

3 cups butternut squash, cut in ½-inch pieces
1 Tbs. fresh sage, chopped, or ½  tsp. dried
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
2¾ cups vegetable broth
6 oz. light coconut milk
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro or parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel squash and cut into pieces (or buy cubed squash at Trader Joe or Costco — you’ll want about 1 lb. for this recipe). Put it into a bowl with the sage and the olive oil and toss until the squash is coated. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The squash should be nicely browned. Set aside.

Heat 2 Tbs. butter or margarine and 1 Tbs. vegetable broth in a medium soup pot. Saute the onion in the butter and broth over medium heat for about 6 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another minute. Add the turmeric and curry powder and mix well.

Add the squash and the broth. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the squash is tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and blend. Use an immersion blender if possible. If you don’t have one, blend in batches on low speed.

Thin with a little broth if necessary. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro or fresh parsley.

Serves 4 to 6