When it comes to the colorful, hard-skinned squashes that make their appearance in October/November, I like them all: pumpkin, butternut, acorn, delicata and a dozen less-common varieties that flourish locally, such as turban and buttercup. Compared to summer varieties such as patty pan and zucchini, which have thin, edible skins and delicate flesh, the tough-skinned exterior of winter squash isn’t ideal for eating—but its sweet, hearty interior is.
I have used winter squash in all kinds of recipes from risotto, salads and even panna cotta. For some reason people think they’re restricted to pies and soup, but you can do anything with them.
For this season’s harvest, I am using them in a baked hubbard, thyme and apple tart. We have couple great salads on our menus like acorn squash, pears, potatoes & goat cheese or delicata squash, wild arugula, caramelized pearl onions, pancetta, pomegranate vinaigrette & point reyes blue.
Don’t forget that with smaller squash, you can just peel it, cut it into cubes, sauté it in butter with a little salt, sage and honey.
Here is a great recipe you can try:
Kabocha Squash Ravioli with Duck Confit, Chestnut Honey and Sage
1 Kabocha squash, seeds removed, roasted
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 8-inch by 3-foot sheets fresh pasta dough
¼ cup chestnut honey
4 Tablespoons butter
8 leaves sage
2 shallots, cut into thin rounds
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano
Freshly cracked black pepper
Combine roasted squash with olive oil, cheese, nutmeg and season to taste. Cut pasta into squares and make ravioli using about 1 Tablespoon of filling per piece. Reserve till ready to cook.
4 duck legs, cleaned, skin-on
4 cups rendered duck fat
3 garlic cloves, whole
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
3 Tablespoons Kosher salt
In a deep pot, combine the duck legs, duck fat, whole garlic, celery, carrots, onion, herbs and salt. Cover the pot with foil and place in a 350°F oven for 2 ½ hours or until the meat begins to fall off the bone. Take the duck legs out of the fat, place them on a baking sheet and separate the meat from the bones, set aside.
Poach ravioli in salted, boiling water until cooked, then drain. Heat the chestnut honey in a sauté pan until it darkens slightly then add the butter, shallots and sage leaves. Add the confit, poached ravioli, parsley and gently toss to coat. Serve with cheese grated on top and fresh cracked black pepper.