I LOVE butternut squash. I mean LOVE. Like, could eat it every day, any way you make it. I love to grow them. I love to store them. I love to give them away. I adore butternut squash.
I have no idea! Ha! Seriously. I don’t. Squashes were not something that were eaten in my house as a child. My father loathes them. Won’t touch anything containing them. Even if he manages to eat something containing them unknowingly, AND LIKED IT, the minute he finds out that squash (or sweet potatoes for that matter) are in there, he will never eat it again. So, truly I don’t know where this love affair came from. I do, however, remember when it started.
About 10 years ago I was working for Borders. You all remember Borders, the big bad books store that put the little guys out of business, and then suffered the same demise at the hands of Amazon? Well, back in 2007 I was working for Borders. On Black Friday that year we had a potluck so that no one would have to travel out to eat on their break. One of my co-workers brought butternut squash soup she had made from her garden. The day after Thanksgiving, with all of its overindulgence, this simple soup of pureed squash was exactly what my body was craving. I don’t even know that there was much more than squash and cream and a little salt and pepper to this soup, but the crown for it was a dollop of fresh, cold, spicy salsa. The hot, creamy soup topped with the cold salad was nourishing and filling without being heavy or rich. I was hooked immediately. Lucky for me she made a HUGE batch and I was able to eat it every day for at least a week. It was awesome.
Since then I have learned to cultivate, grow, harvest, store, and prepare butternut squash to my heart’s content. I tell you this because butternut squashes are in season this week, and I couldn’t be happier. From now through November, my favorite squash (and many others) will be flooding the farmers markets and crowding the garden, ripe and ready for the picking. If you have never had one of these weirdly phallic garden gems I highly recommend picking one up this weekend. Try this recipe from Genius Kitchen, which is as close to my first taste as I can find, and it is dairy free!
Butternut Squash with Tomato Salsa
- Preheat the oven to 425°F Place the squash on a baking sheet and brush with some of the oil and roast for 25 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 375F and cook for 20-25 minutes more or until the squash is tender.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large heavy pan and cook the onions over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until softened.
- Meanwhile, scoop the squash out of the skin, adding it to the pan.
- Pour in 5 cups of water and stir in salt and plenty of black pepper.
- Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Cool the soup slightly, then process it in a blender or food processor to a smooth puree.
- Alternatively press the soup through a fine sieve with a back of a spoon.
- Reheat without boiling, then ladle it into warmed bowls.
- Top each serving with a spoonful of salsa and serve.