12 Holiday Food Comas: Rosemary Squash Casserole

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I know it’s wrong, but sometimes I just pour heavy cream on things. Just…all over it. Strawberries, peaches, waffles, my hand, etc. Usually those moments are influenced by the emotional eating part of my brain that says things like “If you’re sad, food will make you happy!” and other illogical things.

In this instance, however, the cream is not so random and impulsive. It melds wonderfully with the herbs and squash, creating a wonderful cold-weather dish that pairs beautifully with almost anything (…like more cream?). Be fairly generous with the salt and pepper and don’t try and go “lean” with skim milk— it will separate in the oven and not thicken properly while the dish cools.

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Rosemary Squash Casserole
1 1/4 c heavy cream
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 t chopped fresh sage
1 t chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 c grated parmigiano
1 small butternut squash, peeled
2 small russet potatoes
1 small sweet potato, peeled
2 t salt
pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 and grease an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. In a small saucepan over low heat combine the herbs and cream, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, thinly slice the squash and potatoes. Layer them in the pan with the salt, pepper, and parmigiano (sprinkle them every time you make a new layer). When the cream is hot, fish the thyme sprigs out and pour the cream over the potatoes and squash in the pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let rest for about an hour or two, to give the cream time to thicken. Warm gently when ready to serve and sprinkle with additional parmigiano. Nomnom!

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Squash Fritters

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These were seriously one of the best things I’ve ever had. Something about the lemon-sage-squash combo blew my mind a little bit and I am really excited for breakfast to come back around so I can have more. Knowing leftovers are sitting in my fridge is driving me a little bit crazy….just….waiting to be eaten….NOMNOMNOM…..

My neighbor has this wonderfully generous habit of giving me excess from her CSA veggie box, so when some squash appeared in my hands from her I couldn’t resist the call of the frying pan. A lot of recipes I came across in my fritter research called for a bunch of eggs and flour, which seems like it would just mask the glory of the squash. No thank you, internet.

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I would only maybe add a friend egg on top, but that’s only for frisky moments with adventure-seekers.

Go forth and conquer, foodies.

 

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Squash Fritters

makes 8 fritters

2 small or medium spaghetti or butternut squash (about 2 c cooked, in the end), seeds reserved
1/2 c bread crumbs
3/4 c shredded Gruyere cheese
1 heaping T chopped fresh sage
1 t salt
1 egg
1/2 c vegetable oil
Sauce
2 T finely chopped chives
1/2 c greek yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of one lemon
1/2 t salt

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and bake cut-side down at 350 for 30-35 min, or until tender. Remove the squashy flesh from the skin and mash in a bowl. Toast the reserved seeds in the 350 oven for about 5-10 minutes, or until slightly brown and crunchy. Set aside. Add the bread crumbs, cheese, sage, salt, and egg to the squash and stir until combined. Divide the mixture into 1/4 c patties. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat and cook the fritters until golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 min per side.

For the sauce, mix all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Top the fritters with a dollop of the yogurt sauce, sprinkle with the toasted squash seeds, and serve immediately.

 

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

bake squash

This lasagna is a real crowd pleaser: creamy without being oily with a good punch of squashiness. It lacks the often painfully long lasagna prep and is very easy to throw together. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on this pan o’ noodles, and we all know how much I love to be flattered.

You will need:
1 medium-sized Kabocha squash (or a medium Butternut)
*Kabocha squash is commonly used in Asian cooking; you often see it in tempura and think it’s sweet potato. It has a very distinctive green rind and is often referred to as pumpkin on the menus.
2 large shallots
2 leeks
2 T olive oil
2 T white wine
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
S & P
pinch nutmeg
1 quart milk
2 c shredded mozzerella
1 lb cottage cheese
3/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1 package ready-bake lasagna noodles

Heat your oven to 400 degrees and bake the squash, cut in half with cut side up, until a fork goes through easily.

Dice the shallots and leek, making sure to rinse the leek thoroughly! Saute over medium-high heat with the olive oil until soft.

Meanwhile, warm the milk over low heat, stirring occasionally. There’s nothing quite like a pan of burnt, disgusting milk, so make sure you remember to give it a shimmy and a shake every now and then. Otherwise, you’ll be making all the mama cows out there cry!

When the leeks and shallots are soft, reduce with a shot of white wine:

add the butter:

(mmm fat) with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. When the butter has melted, add the flour and mix until incorporated.

Cook for a minute or two. When the roux is nice and thick, slowly add one cup of the warm milk.

And stir until smooth. It’s important not to add all of the milk at once; if you do, it will be a lot harder to have a smooth mixture and your hand will get tired from whisking so much. Slowly add the rest of the milk and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Turn off the heat.

Mash up the squash in a separate bowl

and add it to the milk mixture:

Stir it until somewhat homogenous and then go at it with an immersion blender:

And, voila! You will have a beautiful, smooth, bright orange mixture to behold:

Mix together the shredded mozzarella and cottage cheese

And you’re ready to assemble! BOOM!

Grease a 13″x9″ pan thoroughly. Spread a thin layer of squash-sauce on the bottom:

Layer noodles, more squash-sauce, the cottage-mozz mixture, and a generous sprinkling of parm until you run out of ingredients. It should be about 3 chunky layers:

The top of the lasagna should be parm and cheese-mixture, but not a lot of it. Just a dabble.

Let this sit for about 20 minutes to let the noodles absorb some liquid before they go into the oven.

Preheat your oven to 375 and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Personally, I think this is best served the next day; however, I have much higher standards than the average minion and don’t expect all of you to live up to my superior taste buds.

Now go get your nom on!