Heading into 2012 with a goal of preparing more meatless meals for my family, I was inspired by Mark Bittman's NYT piece, "no meat, no problem" I pinned his delicata squash recipe onto my "recipes I can't wait to try" board. (It has since been elevate to the tried-and-true "side dishes (make again!)" board, if you're looking for it.) But what is a delicata squash I wondered as I perused the various orbs in the produce section? I know I'm not the only one who confuses one squash with another because a 2009 post I wrote on "what does a butternut and acorn squash look like?" is still one of the most popular on this site. So, before I launch into this super easy veggie side that my kids loved, I am sharing a photo of delicata squashes above. Now you know what to look for!
Simple Roasted Delicata Squash
inspired by Mark Bittman's "Recipes for the Semi-Vegan"
(reheats well, so make a bunch at one time to enjoy throughout the week)
olive oil (or your favorite oil)
salt & pepper to taste
Heat oven to 425. Wash the squash, since you will be roasting it with the skin on. Cut the round ends off each squash, so it stands up easily when you slice it in half the long way. Then scoop and discard seeds. (This is a good part to let kids help with, if they want to take part.) Slice each half cross-wise into 2" pieces and lay on baking sheet. (I lined mine with parchment, so the squash would not stick.) Drizzle with a bit of olive (or your favorite) oil, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender. (You can test by sticking a fork into a piece...it should pierce easily.) Serve warm. I packaged up leftovers and reheated them in the oven at future meals that week. This reheats perfectly, so I encourage you to make a big batch and either serve it as a made-ahead side, or it can be chopped up and added to a soup or risotto.
I will try to remember to shoot an "after" photo with the next batch we make. The pieces caramelize and get really sweet, making it particularly appealing to my younger son. And, since manners are second to just getting food down their hatches these days, I should note that this recipe was enjoyed with fingers, not a fork. Yes, I just admitted that I left my kids eat with their hands... Hope it's a hit in your house too, no matter how your family enjoys this simple side!
[Update 1/30/12: an "after" shot! Here's a batch that is cooked and ready to enjoy. At my friend, Loren's, suggestion, I cut them into rings this time. Even neater!! Still finger food as far as I am concerned...]