Which squash is which? While roasting brings out the best flavor in most winter squash don’t forget about sautéing or even grilling! Here is a quick guide to a few of the most popular squash varieties in our kitchen, they will be right at home in yours too.
This winter squash is small and round shaped like an acorn. Because of it’s distinct ribs, it is easy to slice into halves or wedges. Acorn squash has a sweet, slightly fibrous flesh.
Beige colored and shaped like a vase or a bell. This is a more watery squash and tastes somewhat similar to sweet potatoes. Butternut is a common squash used in making soups and purees.
A small, watermelon-shaped variety with a golden-yellow rind and a mild, nutlike flavor. When cooked, the flesh separates in strands that resemble spaghetti pasta. Try serving it in it’s shell. It makes a great substitute for gluten-free “pasta”.
"Sugar pie" and other smaller, sweet pumpkins can be used just like Acorn Squash. They are excellent in both sweet and savory preparations when hollowed out and roasted until tender.
One of the easiest preparations of squash of any type is to roast it and make a puree. The puree is the perfect base for soups, baked goods and desserts.
To Make Squash Puree:
- Cut winter squash (any type) in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in a shallow pan on aluminum foil or Silpat-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees F. until squash is soft, approximately 45 to 60 minutes (depending on the size of your squash). Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, scoop out the cooked flesh/pulp (discarding the shell), place the pulp in a food processor and process until smooth.
Becky Fleck is a contributing writer for Topaz Cafe, a contemporary American cafe located in Burr Ridge, Ill. Fleck is the event coordinator and works closely with Chef Andrew and the staff at Topaz.