Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How I got my husband to eat squash.

I think I've mentioned that my husband will eat anything. Well, almost anything... Squash is, unfortunately, one of the exceptions.

A couple of months ago, we celebrated our town's "Restaurant Week" by dining at one of our favorite restaurants. The soup of the evening was a roasted butternut squash soup with spiced mascarpone, cocoa nib, and a chocolate drizzle. It was exquisite. (If I ever did find a recipe close to it, I'm sure that the ingredients would probably cost more than just ordering it at the restaurant.) My husband wouldn't even try a bite.

I love a good roasted squash, especially on a cold winter day. Unfortunately, I think my husband's main experience with the dish had been in this form:

Yeah, I probably wouldn't eat that either.

(For those of you who like spaghetti squash, I have no doubt that there is a way to make this vegetable taste good. However, I'm pretty sure there is no way to improve the texture.) For those of you like me, here is a better way:

Maple-Roasted Squash

Slightly sweet, caramelized, and with a little salty bite, this dish is packed with flavor and color. I made some (cheaper) modifications to the original recipe, like using bacon instead of pancetta. The addition of a little maple syrup may just be the key to getting your kids (or husband ;)) to eat their veggies.

1 medium-sized squash, peeled and 3/4 inch diced. The original recipe calls for butternut, but I prefer acorn squash in it (although I like acorn squash better than butternut in general, so that didn't surprise me).
5-10 cloves of garlic, separated from head, but not peeled. The original recipe called for a whole head, but I found just a few cloves sufficient.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 oz cooked and chopped bacon
16 whole fresh sage leaves

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) In a sheet pan or oven-safe baking dish, spread squash out in a single layer. Dot with garlic, and drizzle olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper on top. Toss to combine.
3) Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until squash begins to brown. Turn once while baking.
4) Add bacon and sage leaves, roast for another 20 to 30 minutes, until squash and garlic are tender and caramelized.

Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper, and serve hot.

I served this dish with a roast chicken and homemade dinner rolls. The roasted garlic cloves were excellent spread on the bread with some butter!

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