Fall, how I love you. I’m wearing socks for the first time in a long time. Winter squashes taste of autumnal happiness. They’re all sorts of pretty orange and yellow hues, like the changing leaves or the drippy afternoon sunshine. They’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, so you can feel all virtuous about chowing down on some hearty and heart-stopping squash beauties.
Butternut Squash, Walnut, Spinach & Feta Quinoa
I made this for lunch the other day for me and Mr. Bed-Stuy in his Bed-Stuy kitchen, October sun streaming brazenly into his windows, Gordon Ramsey on the TV. We wanted something healthy and hearty, and this did the trick. Hence quinoa and squash. We also made French silk pie, but that’s another story.
This is wonderfully easy. Season squash with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with good olive oil. Roast cubes of squash until perfectly golden, just-a-bit soft, and wildly flavorful. Toast some walnuts for crunch. Make the quinoa, then stir in spinach so it wilts. Toss in your pretty orange squash, walnuts, and feta, and drizzle with some more olive oil. Lunch. And lunch the next day. And maybe even the next.
Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup
Red-orange kuri squash looks like a ridgeless pumpkin. It has a hauntingly, quintessentially fall flavor, sweet and chestnutty. You can leave on the skin to roast, so it’s really easy. I love this soup. It’s more proof that simple food is the best food.
Dress fennel and cubes of squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, and roast in a hot oven until golden and tender.
Puree the soup in a blender in batches with some veggie or chicken stock, or just whir everything in a saucepan with an immersion blender. Warm it up, and stir in a plop of butter. Maybe garnish with some toasted pumpkin seeds or pecans, if you’re feeling fancy. Serve with crusty bready for dipping.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Herbs and Pecorino Romano
Spaghetti squash is magic. The canary-yellow gourd has flesh that separates into long, twirlable strands that look and feel like angel hair pasta after an hour, maybe an hour and a half, in an oven. The taste is mild and nutty. A gentle, soft-spoken squash.
I like pecorino for this. It’s a sheep’s milk cheese, and it has the sweet/salt/unami or parmesan with a bit of gamy, sheepy oomph.
Cut the squash in half and roast. I like to cover it with foil and add a splash of water to help things along; the steam helps keep the squash from drying out and makes everything fabulously tender.
Melt some butter in a skillet and gently cook lots of shallots and garlic slivers until soft. Then stir in whatever fresh herbs float your boat—thyme, rosemary, chervil, basil, tarragon, oregano, parsley, and your skinny squash ribbons. Rain down pecorino on top — big rainstorm. Make a big bowl.