Winter Harvest: Winter squash

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I’ve tried a lot of different techniques when ordering food from the winter co-op at Jordan’s, Green Sparks and Alewive’s Brook farms. I’ve selected items at random, I’ve ordered food I’ve never heard of, but this time I went for squash. 

I know I like squash. I enjoy butternut, acorn and spaghetti regularly, but blue Hubbard? Red kuri? I was intrigued. So I ordered.

Blue Hubbard squash has a blue-grey color and is knotty and gnarly. My squash was almost five pounds. The red kuri squash has a bright orange hue and was about two pounds.

Out of these two fine specimens I made a lot of food – soup, a casserole, risotto and a mashed side dish.

I cut open the blue Hubbard with a huge knife, but I also read that the bigger ones can be wrapped in a plastic bag and dropped on the ground. I cut mine open with poise and grace. 

After removing all the insides ( keep the seeds they’re tasty when soaked in water and then roasted and salted) I drizzled the halves with oil and placed them, cut side down,  in the oven at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes to make it easier to remove from the shell. After they cooled, I removed the outside and cut the squash into 1/2-inch cubes. It makes them easy to use for other recipes and easy to store.

Squash risotto

Hubbard squash, par-roasted, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 to 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
a few sage leaves, chopped
few ounces of grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Drizzle squash with olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for about 35 minutes or until tender.

Heat the stock in a large pot while preparing the risotto.

In a medium pot, cook the onion about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add about 1/3 of the roasted squash, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook another two minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon about 5 minutes until the rice is coated with oil. Add the wine and continue to stir until the rice absorbs the wine.

Turn up the heat to medium high and add the warm stock – enough to cover the rice. When the liquid is absorbed, add another 1/2 cup of broth to the rice and continue to stir until that is absorbed. Repeat these steps for about 20 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

At the very end, add the rest of the squash, a final 1/2 cup of stock, stir in the cheese and herbs and remove from the heat. Adjust the seasonings and serve warm. Risotto will be creamy and delicious!

Red kuri and quinoa casserole

The beauty of this casserole is that five guys devoured it at a football party and had no idea how good it was for them. It stood up to the nachos, chicken wings and chips and salsa. The guys heard the word casserole, smelled the melted cheese and ate it up!

Red kuri squash, roasted and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped

a few handfuls fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, diced
8 button mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinse in cold water before cooking
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
shredded mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Drizzle squash with olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes or until tender. Remove and let cool.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

In the meantime, saute the onion, garlic, mushrooms, spinach for about 8 minutes. (The beauty of this recipe is that you can add any vegetable you feel like. I’ve added carrots, celery and zucchini before.)

Add breadcrumbs, rinsed quinoa, squash, salt and pepper and broth to the pan and cook until mixture starts to thicken, about 15 minutes. When you see spirals in the quinoa grains, turn off the heat and transfer mixture to a casserole dish.

Top the casserole with cheese (as much as you like) and place in oven for about 30 minutes, covered. Serve hot.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or

Sidebar Elements

Red kuri squash, left, is mild, creamy and has a nutty flavor. The blue Hubbard squash, pictured right, is not very sweet and is very flavorful when roasted. These winter varieties are versatile and can be made into soups, casseroles, mashed and added to rice dishes.