Say hello to my very favorite "easy weeknight vegetable" -- at least during the fall and winter. It's the delicata squash, see those two long-ish squash in the background of the photo? Those are delicata squash. What you can't see is that these guys are small, maybe six inches long. One squash feeds two or four, no need to pack up leftovers.
And delicata skins are edible, not as soft as a zucchini skin but not as hard as the skin of a butternut squash. This is good news because -- there's no peeling!
And unlike a butternut squash, where you need to worry about How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers. No, not these delicata babies, these baby delicatas. It's easy as can be to slice into a delicata squash, no minute in the microwave required. Just you and a sharp knife. Or hey, a dull knife, you decide.
So yes, this is my favorite weeknight squash. Any chance it's yours, too? or will be?
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RECIPE for ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 2 or 4 (see TIPS)
1 delicata squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F. (You can also roast vegetables at 375F or 425F, to match the oven temperature for dinner. Just adjust the timing.) For easy cleanup later, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Wash the squash well under running water, paying special attention to the stem and blossom ends. Now slice off this ends, just a narrow slice. Now cut the squash in half lengthwise. With a spoon -- a grapefruit spoon works especially well -- scoop out and discard the seeds and any gunk attached to them. Place the halves cut-size down on a cutting board and cut half inch or so-wide half rings. If you look at them right, you'll see all kinds of big smiles. Hey, I'm happy to see you, too, Mz. Delicata!
Dump all those delicata smilie faces into a big bowl and drizzle the olive oil over top. Wash your hands -- because now you're gonna get in their with your hands, tossing the squash with your hands, distributing the oil. (Why do it with our hands? Because it takes less oil. If you just drizzle the pan or the squash, without helping to distribute the oil, it takes a lot, lot more.) Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet -- it's worth taking an extra minute or two to put them in a single layer, smilie sides up, of course. No frowns!
Roast for 15 minutes, then give them a toss to turn and roast another 10 to 15 minutes, checking every five minutes. I like them a little crispy, almost candy-like, but cook them to the point where you like the texture.
That's it! Serve and enjoy! And smile!
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
The longer the squash cooks and crisps up, the smaller the squash shrinks up. So if you need or want to serve four, cook the squash just until soft, not until crispy. Either way, it's easy to gobble up the whole plateful, one or two or three or four people. Everyone will be smiling.
~ My Favorite Winter Squash Recipes ~
~ Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine ~
~ Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar ~
~ Steamed Butternut Squash ~
~ Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze ~
~ more winter squash recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple ~
~ Chicken & Wild Rice Soup ~
~ Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries ~
~ more winter squash ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
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