i accept the transition from summer to fall begrudgingly, if at all. but there are a few things that can coax me into enjoying the season—most of them alimentary, of course. and in my autumn kitchen, squash reigns supreme. so sweet and soft and wholesome, and delightfully named from the Narragansett asquutasquash (thank you, OED).
i've extolled the virtues of the delicata squash before. let me reiterate: unlike the fabulous but intimidating rotundity of the butternut, or the rippling impenetrability of the acorn, the delicata is easy to cut open, with no attendant worries of losing a finger or two in the process! furthermore, it needs no peeling! (how a-peeling! ha ha).
this was an impromptu dish largely spearheaded by my boyfriend off the cuff. like so many things we make, it became something extraordinary. what can i say? we eat well around here. roasted delicata squash halves were stuffed with a savory white bean—cranberry filling and sprinkled with walnuts, baked again, and served with homemade multigrain rosemary sourdough bread. blissful. this is a strong contender for thanksgiving main dish 2010.
first step: cut 2 delicata squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then roast in a baking pan at 350 F for about 30 minutes.
while that's roasting, prepare white bean filling. sauté half an onion, minced, in some olive oil, with a big pinch each of fresh or dried rosemary and sage. when the onion is goldenish, add cooked or canned white beans—i'm estimating about 2 cans worth. 1 might suffice, since we had leftover stuffing—and a big handful of dried cranberries. salt to taste and let this simmer while the squash finishes roasting.
when squash is soft enough to pierce with a fork, remove it from the oven. carefully scoop white bean mixture into the cavity of each squash half. dust each top with finely chopped walnuts, or bread crumbs. put it back in the oven and bake another 15 minutes or so, or until the walnuts/bread crumbs are a bit toasty.
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