If you’ve watched my video about the 7 winter squash varieties we’d grown in 2016, you’ve heard me talking about what I call ‘one-meal-squash’ varieties. I prefer squashes that don’t get too big so that we can use a fruit in one go, instead of only using a part of a huge fruit to make something then having the rest sit in the fridge until it gets mouldy and I have to throw it away, feeling terribly guilty.
However, my favourite variety from last year ‘Harrier’ was slightly bigger than ‘one-meal’. It is a butternut squash developed in England especially for cooler, shorter summers. Well, our summers are not much different from those they get in England and my success with butternut squashes so far was limited, so I was keen to try this variety. It did everything the seed package promised: it produced lots of fruits that ripened early, except they grew a lot bigger than the advertised 800g (2 pounds) per fruit. My squashes were about 3x as heavy – 2200-2500g (around 5,5 pounds) per fruit.
I am not one to waste so I devised a strategy for dealing with my butternuts, making three different dishes out of one fruit: a soup, a main dish and a cake.
Here’s what I do:
- I cut a little over a third of the bottom part of the fruit and use that to make a soup. Either this delicious and simple ‘Winter squash and sage soup’ (below) or this ‘Moroccan butternut squash soup’.
- I halve the ‘neck’ of the squash and bake it (cut side down) for about an 40 to 60 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (400F), or until tender. I scrape out the flesh and mash it with a form or blitz it in the food processor until smooth. If I’m not using it immediately, it can be stored in the fridge for at least 3 days.
- I use 1 cup of the squash puree to make pumpkin gnocchi. Sometimes I double the recipe, depending on how much puree I’ve got. Either we eat the gnocchi with tomato sauce or with sage butter and parmesan cheese.
- I use the rest of the puree to make a winter squash cake. I have made many different variations of my basic recipe: with pumpkin pie spice mix, with gingerbread spice mix, with chocolate chips or chocolate glaze… All good! Fun fact: my 5 year old niece who would never eat winter squash knowingly, couldn’t get enough of this cake.
- I pat myself on the shoulder for being such a good housekeeper.
Have you got any favourite recipes for winter squash? I’ve made these three recipes so many times in the past months that I might need to switch things up a bit!