The variety of squash available in fall is incredible and while they all taste similar each one has its own unique texture or quality. Of course there are many other types of squash but these are a few of my favorites.
My favorite way to prepare them is roasting them in the oven on weekends. By doing this the possibilities for a quick meal are endless during the week. You can use the roasted flesh in dozens of ways and each type of squash lends itself to different applications.
I have found over the years that butternut squash is the most versatile and most readily available of the squash family. It is the sweetest of the bunch and typically destined for pies and cakes. You should not count it out for savory dishes because it is beautifully silky smooth in soup and a great addition in salads as well.
Acorn squash is also readily available and can also be used with sweet or savory applications. Try stuffing the roasted halves with ground sausage, onions and peppers for a simple dinner. I also love these with a little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon as a sweet treat. I tried a new variety of Acorn squash this year called Carnival squash. It has a beautiful pattern of stripes on the outside making the presentation unique. Most Acorn squash you will see is dark green with the occasional orange spot. Golden Acorn is a smaller orange variety.
I also tried Delicata squash which was new to me this year. This is by far the easiest to prepare because you can actually eat the rind. Sliced and dressed with some Parmesan cheese and parsley it is a wonderful side. All of the varieties offer such wonderful subtle differences you should try a different one every week to find your favorite!
Note: Roasting times will vary greatly depending on size. To check insert a knife or fork into the center. If it goes in easily they are done. Also, if you are going to roast different sizes like I have here then begin with the larger ones and add the smaller sizes after about 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise.
- Using a spoon remove seeds and extra pulp.
- Place cut side up on sheet pan.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Rub salt and oil all over each cut side.
To stuff: roast until almost completely done and then stuff with desired toppings (sage sausage is a favorite in my house). Move back to oven and let warm 5-10 minutes.
For sweet squash: Remove roasted squash from oven and fill cavities with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Place in oven 5 minutes until melted.