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Fall harvests: It's high time to check out squash recipes

 

The change of seasons will herald a surge of squash varieties. Some will be available at the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market in Columbus, open three days weekly through the end of September, and on Saturdays through October. Read on for a recipe for Italian spaghetti squash stuffed with crumbled Italian sausage and cheese pictured.

The change of seasons will herald a surge of squash varieties. Some will be available at the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market in Columbus, open three days weekly through the end of September, and on Saturdays through October. Read on for a recipe for Italian spaghetti squash stuffed with crumbled Italian sausage and cheese pictured. Photo by: delish.com/Ethan Calabrese

 

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One simple way to introduce butternut squash to the family is these squash

One simple way to introduce butternut squash to the family is these squash "fries."
Photo by: myfussyeater.com

 

This acorn squash with ricotta and sage makes an elegant side.

This acorn squash with ricotta and sage makes an elegant side.
Photo by: delish.com

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

As summer gives way to autumn, don't assume we have to say goodbye to fresh produce. Garden goodness can last well into fall and early winter with proper care, says the Mississippi State Extension Service. The Hitching Lot Farmers' Market in Columbus, for example, is still open three days a week through September (Mondays 4-6 p.m., Thursdays and Saturdays 7-10 a.m.) and will continue on Saturdays through the month of October. One harvest shoppers are likely to seek out there is squash.  

 

Squash generally falls into two classifications, summer squash and winter squash. Don't be fooled: summer squash types can be on the market in winter, and winter types are on the market in late summer and fall.  

 

Squash come in an array shapes and colors and are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. There are numerous varieties, but today we'll touch on three -- spaghetti squash, acorn squash and butternut squash.  

 

Spaghetti squash -- also called vegetable spaghetti, vegetable marrow, or noodle squash -- gets its name because, when cooked, the flesh separates in strands, resembling spaghetti pasta. This squash is small and watermelon-shaped. It has a golden-yellow, oval rind and a mild, nut-like flavor, says whatscookingamerica.com. Look for the "yellowest," it's likely to be the best to eat. In general, larger spaghetti squash are more flavorful than small ones. This squash can be stored at room temperature for about a month. Check out the Italian spaghetti squash recipe in today's pages. 

 

Acorn squash is small and round shaped like an acorn. This good baking squash has a sweet, slightly fibrous flesh. Acorn squash can be dark green, golden and multi-colored. Read on for a simple recipe for a delicious side of acorn squash with creamy ricotta and fragrant sage.  

 

Ah, butternut squash. The deep-orange flesh of this popular variety has a sweet, nutty flavor, somewhat similar to sweet potatoes. The oranger the color, the riper and sweeter the squash, says whatscookingamerica.net. Butternut squash is so versatile, but today's recipe for it is a very simple one: butternut squash "fries." While these won't be crispy like potato fries, they're a low-carb, low-cal way to introduce new vegetables and flavors to fussy eaters at your table, and an easy way to get acquainted with the butternut. 

 

Baked, roasted, steamed, sauteed; soups, curries, casseroles, sides -- there are so many ways to make squash varieties part of your fall-into-winter menus. It's a great time to explore a few.  

 

 

 

ITALIAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH  

 

Prep time: 20 minutes 

 

Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes 

 

Serves 4 

 

 

 

2 large spaghetti squash, halved 

 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

 

Kosher salt 

 

Freshly ground black pepper 

 

1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed 

 

1/2 cup tomato sauce 

 

1 cup shredded mozzarella 

 

 

 

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. On a large baking sheet, rub insides of spaghetti squash with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and heat broiler. 

     

  • Once cool enough to handle, shred spaghetti squash with a fork. 

     

  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned. 

     

  • Divide tomato sauce and sausage among halves and top with cheese. Broil until cheese is browned and squash warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve hot. 

     

    (Source: delish.com, Lindsay Funston) 

     

     

     

    ACORN SQUASH WITH RICOTTA AND SAGE 

     

    Prep time: 25 minutes 

     

    Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes 

     

    Makes 4 servings 

     

     

     

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter 

     

    1/4 cup fresh sage leaves 

     

    2 bay leaves 

     

    2 acorn squash 

     

    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

     

    3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 

     

    1/4 cup sherry vinegar 

     

    1 cup ricotta 

     

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a roasting pan, combine 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon butter, sage stems, and bay leaves. Season cut sides of squash halves with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and place in a pan, cut sides up, evenly spaced. 

     

  • Bake until squash is tender but still holding its shape, about 50 minutes, basting a few times with liquid in pan. 

     

  • Transfer squash halves to a work surface and let cool about 5 minutes. Cut in half again to form 8 quarters. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add sage leaves and cook over medium heat until crisp, about 1 minute per side. Transfer sage to a plate.  

     

  • Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and melt. Add half the squash quarters, cut side down, and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn squash to other cut sides and brown. Transfer squash to plates. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and squash. 

     

  • Add vinegar to skillet and boil over high heat, scraping up browned bits, 1 minute. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and pour over squash. Spoon 2 tablespoons ricotta in each squash quarter, scatter reserved crispy sage on top, and serve. 

     

    (Source: delish.com) 

     

     

     

    BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRIES  

     

     

     

    1 butternut squash 

     

    1 tablespoon olive oil 

     

    Sea salt, to garnish 

     

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 200 F. Peel and cut the squash in half length-ways. Scoop out seeds and then cut each half into fries or wedges. 

     

  • Toss fries in oil and then place in a single layer onto a baking tray. Bake for 20-35 minutes (depending on the size of your fries) turning once. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. 

     

    (Source: myfussyeater.com)

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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