Winter squash should be stored at room temperature in a dry location like the kitchen counter or cupboard.
Roast squash and scoop out flesh. Puree and freeze in pint-sized plastic containers: a great thing to do with leftover squash.
Like garlic and onions, squash should be kept in a cool, dry location such as an attic, garage, or unheated room.
Winter Squash Risotto
- ½ butternut squash, roasted
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 stick butter, cut in half
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- Splash of white wine, if desired
- 5 cups boiling chicken stock
- salt & pepper
- Parmesan cheese
Roast butternut squash and remove flesh from one half. Saute the onion in half of the butter gently until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat with the butter, about 2 minutes. Add the splash of wine and let it simmer off, then add the squash flesh and ½ cup of the chicken stock at a time until rice is cooked, stirring from time to time. (Simmer over low heat as you add the broth, as this risotto tends to get really thick and large volcanic bubbles may spew you with molten squash.) When the rice is cooked, add the remaining stock, the other half of the butter, and about ¼ cup grated Parmesan. Serve hot as a first course or along side a steak.
Variation: Instead of adding the other half stick of butter at the end you can make a crispy bacon and sage butter topping. Crisp 2 slices of diced bacon and pour off fat. Add a few torn sage leaves and some butter and stir until melted. Garnish each plate after serving for a flavor enhancer and textural contrast.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter and Sage
- 1 butternut squash (about 1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 recipe basic pasta dough
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 1 large amaretti cookie (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 °F
Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, drizzle with the olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 25-35, or until the squash is very soft. Remove from the oven, let cool, the scoop the flesh from the skin.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled squash, cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
Roll out the pasta dough to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine. Using a biscuit cutter or water glass, cut out 2-inch circles. Pipe or carefully spoon a rounded tablespoon of filling onto the center of half of the rounds and cover the filling with a second pasta round. Press the edges together firmly to seal.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Drop the ravioli in the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 12- to 14- inch sauté pan until it foams and subsides. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and whisk to emulsify. Drain the pasta and add it to the butter. Add the sage leaves and toss gently for 1 minute over medium heat to coat the pasta with sauce. Divide the ravioli among four warmed plates, grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano and amaretti over each plate, and serve immediately.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
Pour out the flour directly on your countertop or a very large pastry board, making a well in the center like a volcano. Crack the eggs into the center of this well and begin to beat with a fork. Little by little, incorporate flour from the walls of the volcano. Try not to let the egg mixture break through the walls and go spilling everywhere. Patience is the secret to fresh pasta: beat it with the fork until you can't bear it anymore. When the dough ball is ready to be worked by hand, relinquish the fork. If you proceed to hand kneading too soon, though, you will make a sticky, eggy mess of your hands. Knead the dough by hand, incorporating as much of the remaining flour as possible. Next, the dough needs to rest. Wrap your precious golden ball in plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 30 minutes.
After the dough rests, it's time to roll. (If you don't have a pasta rolling machine, now would be too late to go buy one.) Have some extra flour ready. Cut off about a quarter of the dough ball and roll it out using the machine. My method is to make a round disc by hand, coat it with flour, and roll it through stage 1. Dust again, fold the piece in half, and send it though 1 again. Now dust, proceed to 3, dust again, and proceed to 5. I usually stop at the second to last stage because if you go all the way, the dough gets really thin and tears easily. You will find, through practice, your own method that works in your kitchen.