One Squash At A Time

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One of the signature marks of the Autumn season are the bountiful winter squash overflowing on supermarket shelves.  These oddly shaped and brilliantly colored squash catch my eye every year.  The most common varieties include butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin and spaghetti squash.  Although delicious in their own right, the more common varieties of winter squash can get slightly monotonous for me.  I love seeking out some of the lesser known types from farmer’s markets or road-side stands.  These more unusual varieties have unique flavor profiles that can turn any ordinary dish into something spectacular!  Pick up one of the following if you get the chance:
  • Kabocha squash – a Japanese native, this squash is super creamy when cooked!
  • Calabaza Squash – spanish for “squash”, Calabaza is quite similar to our butternut
  • Red Krui Squash – somewhat shaped like an onion, this bright red/orange squash has a uniquely nutty flavor
  • Cinderella Pumpkin – named for its “fairytale” appearance, this large pumpkin is perfect baked for pies!
  • Delicata Squash – a rare edible-skinned winter squash
  • Sugar Pie Pumpkin – just as the name suggests, this mini pumpkin is super sweet and great in baked goods.
  • Hubbard Squash – the funkiest looking of all winter squash, it comes in blue, green or orange!  The longer you keep it, the sweeter it gets.
  • Cheese Pumpkin – no, this one doesn’t taste like cheese – its name for the resemblance to a wheel of cheese.
Winter squash can be a great addition to any meal.  It’s low in fat with only 80 calories/cup, high in fiber and rocks the charts in beta carotene (converted to Vitamin A in the body) and Vitamin C!  Only 1/4 cup of any of these Autumn wonders is an entire days worth of Vitamin A!  Can’t go wrong there!

A great way to incorporate these beauties is with one of my favorite recipes from Giada De Laurentiis:  Rigatoni with Squash and Shrimp.  I made my own version of this recipe tonight – but unfortunately my fiancé and I were so hungry we forgot to take a picture of the finished product!  Oh well – there will be plenty more opportunities to snatch photos of our delicious creations.  But I should note that I choose to use a buttercup squash instead of the butternut suggested in this recipe.  It has a slightly sweeter taste, but still offers the same buttery and creamy texture!

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