Sunday, January 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Casserole w/ Stewed Apples & Toasted Pecans

If a pumpkin and a sweet potato had a baby - it would be Butternut Squash. And, it's perfect for a casserole. This mellow-yellow, tawny elongated vegetable is packed with its own natural sweetness, NO fat and tons of vitamins and minerals (including Calcium, Folate and Vitamin C.)

It beats out the pumpkin (in my opinion) because it has none of the stringy filling. Roasting a butternut is so easy, and you can cook it and hold it while you decide if you want to serve it in chunks for a risotto, maybe in a frittata, or as a casserole topped with stewed apples, raisins and toasted pecans. Be back in a moment, I just made myself hungry.

{Butternut Squash break....}

As I was saying... This casserole is great as a side dish (wonderful for holidays), but can also be eaten for breakfast. Why not, it certainly has a lot more going for it than a muffin, right?

This particular recipe came about when my family in California joined my sister-in-law from NYC and my In-laws from Chicago to celebrate my Father-in-law's 70th birthday last month. The 11 of us rented a home outside of Las Vegas for 6 days just after the holidays. Can you imagine ELEVEN family members of all ages and (to put it mildly) every variety of personality, staying together for SIX days in one house? Guess what? We had a blast! We had billard matches, a trip into the casino and buffets night, a show night to see LOVE Cirque du Soleil, DVD night, Grill night, Apples to Apples game day, a birthday evening, and what felt like hundreds of meals together. My mother-in-law and I decided we should write a book about how to share a kitchen and cook together because the two of us practically lived in the kitchen. She is an experienced and wonderful cook and together we planned out theme nights and tag-teamed the breakfast mornings so neither of us had to do every early morning meal.

This recipe came from having roasted butternut squash leftover from the soup I made one night and stewed apples leftover from the morning meal she made. We combined them, threw on some toasted pecans and had a healthy, brand new (to our hungry crowd) side dish to go with the Birthday-night Beef Tenderloin meal. Now, it remains in our own Family Collection and voila, a tradition is created.

Recipe: Butternut Squash w/ Stewed Apples & Toasted Pecans

1 Butternut Squash
Drizzle of Olive Oil
1 Tbls Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Heavy Cream (or Coconut Milk)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
1/2 cup pecans - toasted and chopped
Stewed Apples (with raisins)- see Simple Saturday recipe HERE-

1) Cut the butternut squash into fourths, drizzle all sides with olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet in a preheated 350F oven for approx. 45 minutes (til fork tender).

2) Cool on tray, then spoon out seeds and fiber (you may want to keep the seeds for roasting, etc.) and discard.

3) Spoon out the roasted and sweet squash into a large bowl,
add the brown sugar, cream, nutmeg and salt/pepper to taste. Puree with Immersion blender or whip until creamy.

4) Butter or oil an 8x8 inch baking dish and pour the squash puree into the dish.
5) Place Stewed Apples (with raisins) over the top, then sprinkle toasted chopped pecans and cook in a preheated 350F oven for approx. 30-40 mins.

Have you ever tag-team cooked with a family member? How'd that go?


abbey said...

I love butternut squash, but have never done anything like this with it before, very cool!

Nancy said...

One word for this dish... YUM!!!!

Sounds like you had a terrific time with your family!!