Recipes utilizing butternut squash

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Besides the insanely popular pumpkin flavor, butternut squash is one of the most popular vegetables to enjoy this season. Sandy D’Amato is from Good Stock Farm in Hatfield and he joins us with a delicious, colorful recipe.

For 8

1 cup wild rice
2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in ½ from stem to tops
1 small (1 ½ pounds) butternut squash, peeled, cut in half horizontally, seeds removed and cut in 1 x 3/8 inch thick pieces
10 ounces (2 each) turnips, peeled, cut in ½ horizontally, each piece cut into ½-inch wedges
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ½ tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 (4 ounce) onion, peeled, cut in ½ core to tip, core removed and cut into thin slices
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¾ cup (about 3 ounces) dried cranberries, heated in a small saucepan with 3 tablespoons bourbon. Simmer until dry.
¼ ounce (about 20 each) fresh sage leaves, cut in thin strips

Place the rice in a sauce pot. Cover with chicken stock, water and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring up to a high simmer for 50 to 60 minutes until all kernels of rice are just split. Drain and reserve. Blanch the brussels sprouts in boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove, shock in ice water, drain and reserve. Add the squash and turnips to the water. Blanch for 1 minute, remove, drain and reserve. Place a large sauté over high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the brussels sprouts and sauté 1 to 2 minutes to lightly brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove to a bowl. Add the remaining oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter to the same sauté pan. When frothy, add the turnips and squash and sauté, tossing, for 3 to 4 minutes until just tender and nicely colored. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the maple syrup and continue caramelizing for 1 minute. Add the onions and lemon juice, toss for 30 seconds and remove to the bowl with the brussels sprouts. Add the remaining butter to the pan. When it browns, immediately add the rice, toss to coat and warm the rice. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the cooked vegetables to the rice, along with the cranberries and sage. Toss together and serve.

For 2 as a Vegetarian Entrée
or For 4 Side Dishes by Dividing Each Squash in Half
1 butternut squash (1½ pounds) cut in half from stem to tip, seeds scooped out
2 tablespoons butter, browned in a saute pan and cooled
¾ teaspoons kosher salt
Spice Mix: 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground fennel, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1 slice good-quality whole wheat bread, cut in ½-inch cubes (need ½ cup)
2 ounces (1/2 cup) pecan halves, each one cut in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon walnut oil
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
2 ounces (1/2 cup) pomegranate seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place squash flesh side down in a microwaveable dish. Place 1 cup of water in the dish and cover it with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes until the squash are just tender. Remove from the microwave and carefully take the squash out of the dish with a spatula-discard water. While still warm, scoop out the flesh into a bowl leaving about ¼ inch of flesh attached to the skin all around so the skin doesn’t break. To the flesh in the bowl, add the browned butter, ½ teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the Spice Mix. Mix with a fork until combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Divide flesh back into the squash halves-may be made a day ahead-cover and refrigerate until needed. Mix the bread cubes, pecans, the remaining 1 teaspoon of Spice Mix, the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, the walnut oil and the grapeseed oil together. Spread out onto a baking sheet and place in a 375° degree preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, tossing regularly, until crisp and golden brown-may be made a day ahead but cool and keep in a sealed container at room temperature. When you are ready to serve, bake the squash in a 375° degree oven for about 20 minutes. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, divide the pecan/crouton mixture over the top, along with the pomegranate seeds.

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