By: Jim Palmeri, Executive Chef, Mohonk Mountain House
Say YES to Winter Squash! It’s easy to overlook the less flashy winter squash hiding in the vegetable displays of your local market. Even if you do notice the pale pink butternut squash and the green kabocha squash, you may wonder if it’s worth the effort to break through the hard skin to cook whatever’s inside.
Let me tell you, as the Executive Chef at Mohonk Mountain House, I greatly enjoy making dishes that showcase winter squash and can assure you that they are very simple to prepare and incredibly delicious. On top of that, these low-calorie stars are bursting with nutrition. Both butternut and kabocha squash provide lots of vitamin A and C to bolster your immune system, especially important during cold and flu season. Other nutrients they deliver include fiber and potassium.
So head to your local farmer’s market and pick up some butternut and kabocha squash for the recipe I am sharing with you. The orange pulp inside butternut squash has a sweet, nutty taste similar to pumpkin. Kabocha squash is just as tasty, if not more so. Both are very versatile, able to be used in casseroles, breads, muffins, and creamy soups. Most often, winter squash is roasted – bringing out the full flavor and warming your kitchen on cold days, too! So let’s get cooking…
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 small kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 oz. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese (about 2 oz.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the butternut and kabocha squash in a large bowl with 1 oz. olive oil. Roast in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the squash is just tender. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and thyme and cook, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the squash to the skillet along with the garlic, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook and stir for about three minutes. Add the broth and cook until it is mostly absorbed, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened, 2 minutes. Pour mixture into ovenproof dish or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and gruyere cheese over the squash. Bake in 400 degree oven until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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