There's no doubt that we adore pumpkin. But dishing out the love to other winter squash can be a wonderful way to enjoy the produce of the season.
It’s Nov. 1 and pumpkin, the official holiday fruit, is everywhere—and I'm not referring just to my meticulously carved Jack-O-Lantern splattered on my front porch.
Indeed, pumpkin becomes ubiquitous when the weather turns. It's hardy, protective skin allows for a long storage time, making it a mainstay for fall and winter cooking, when fresh local produce is often rare.
But what about the other similar, albeit less-sexy (yes, pumpkin is sexy) winter squashes? Let’s take a gander at pumpkin’s cold weather cousins.
Pear-shaped and large, this pale yellow gourd is fantastic when roasted and puréed into soup—the fruit’s soft flesh yields a creamy, velvety texture. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg, a drizzle of cream, and lots of cracked peppercorns. Another option? Cut into chunks and simmer in a coconut-based sauce for an Autumnal twist on curry.
A blessing for those looking for a pasta-substitute, the stringy fibers of spaghetti squash easily peel away from the flesh, and resemble translucent noodles. If you're pressed for time, forgo the oven and use your microwave. Place a seeded, halved squash cut-side down on a microwave safe plate. Cover with plastic wrap. Zap on high for 7-10 minutes, until tender. Carefully remove the plastic wrap with a pair of tongs and scrape the flesh out with a fork. Toss with sautéed garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.
A hallmark of cornucopia decorations, this teardrop-shaped squash is delicious when baked with butter, brown sugar, and salt. Experiment by halving the squash, substituting butter with olive oil, and stuffing with a protein-packed grain, such as quinoa, for a filling vegan entrée.
Often referred to as West Indian Pumpkin, calabaza has a brilliant, orange flesh and sweet flavor. For a truly divine side dish, roast chunks with butter until the interior can be easily pierced with a knife. Toss pieces with maple syrup, and serve with a healthy dusting of grated Manchego cheese, cilantro pesto, and sea salt.