Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Cheese; Weekend Herb Blogging

Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Cheese

The bright green, yellow and white courgette, or summer squashes are slowly being replaced by the dusky green, bright orange and cream winter squashes.

Summer squashes, including various types of zucchini, pattypan and yellow crookneck, are normally picked young and the entire vegetable, including skin, is eaten.  They can be eaten raw or cooked, and should be used within a few days to a few weeks of picking.Pumpkin

Winter squashes, including acorn, butternut, Hubbard, kabocha, pumpkin and spaghetti, are picked at full maturity, usually after the onset of cold weather but before a hard frost.  They are then ‘cured’ (allowed to further ripen in the sun) to toughen the outer skin and can be stored for several months in a cellar or other cool place. Only the flesh and seeds of the winter squash is eaten, the tough skin being discarded as well as the fibrous center.  The seeds can be cleaned, dried and toasted.

Winter squash were a staple part of the Native American diet, planted together with maize and beans; the beans climbing the cornstalks and the trailing squash plants providing shade for the roots and weed control.  (It works well, I do the same in my garden.)

Winter squashes are very high in Vitamin A, 1 serving (1 cup, 200gr) providing 145% of the USDA value.  They are also high in Vitamin C, potassium, manganese and dietary fiber.

And we never ate them when I was a child.

Except Pumpkin Pie.

Apparently my mother was not accustomed to eating or cooking squashes, either summer or winter.  We were a ‘canned peas and carrots, green beans and corn’ family.  The only vegetables she made fresh were carrots and rutabagas…. and green beans and sweet corn in summer.

My introduction into winter squashes didn’t happen until I was married.  Mon mari loved acorn squash, cut in half, filled with butter and brown sugar, and baked.

Who wouldn’t?

Then came Pumpkin Bread.  Like the pie, it was sweet, with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, and quickly became a holiday staple.

It was the inability to find canned pumpkin when we moved to Ireland, 12 years ago, that started my love affair with squashes.  If I wanted pumpkin bread, it had to start with an actual pumpkin.

As you can see from the photo (above), our pumpkin is not the same as the type one carves a jack-o-lantern from.

Here is a more complete list of winter squashes…. But don’t believe their comment about pumpkins.  My pumpkins are delicious!

As with the summer squash, when one starts planting them one has to start eating them… Lots of them.  While not as prolific as zucchini, the plants are normally good producers. Butternut_soup

And even one pumpkin can be a lot to eat!

Many recipes tend towards the sweet, sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg treatment of squashes, which is good…

But I’ve been trying to create more savory dishes.

Butternut Squash Soup made with chicken stock and sage, garnished with yogurt.

Autumn Pastry, made with butternut squash, wild mushrooms and ricotta cheese.

Or this simple starter I made for dinner last night.

My friend, Ulrike, of Kuchenlatein, is the host of this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging.

Be sure to visit her blog on Monday – she always does a spectacular job with the round-up!

This event  was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, where you can find the archives for all of the wonderful, creative recipes for the past 148 weeks!

Butternut Zquash with Walnuts and Cheese

Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Cheese  serves 2 as a first course

10oz (300gr) butternut squash
1/2 cup (1.5oz, 45gr) walnuts
10 – 12 fresh sage leaves
2oz (60gr) strong, semi-soft cheese
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter

Slice butternut squash thickly, (.5″, 1.25cm) then cut into large pieces.  Heat butter and oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add walnuts and squash and sauté 10 – 15 minutes, until squash is nicely browned.  Snip the sage leaves into large pieces and add for the last 2 – 3 minutes. Divide and put onto two plates.  Cut cheese into cubes and arrange on top. 

I used ‘Tomme’ cheese, which is a soft, pungent, cow and sheep’s milk cheese.  Muenster would be a good choice, as well.

Who says you can’t fry squash…..

Comments 15

  1. Yum! My favorite winter squash dish is a savory one as well, sauteed with onions, garlic, and hot sausage. Add a splash of cream and some fresh herbs (thyme or sage are good) and pasta and it’s incredible! I never ate winter squash growing up either, not even in pie – we usually made sweet potato instead of pumpkin – and I’m just now figuring out how delicious it is.

  2. One of my all-time favourite soups is winter squash with ginger and lime and garnished with deep fried julienned pieces of ginger. The recipe I use is altered from an ancient Gourmet magazine recipe.
    When I was a kid, I loathed squash (silly me) even though Mom used to bake acorn squashes all the time. She put a bit of butter, salt, pepper and grated nutmeg in the cavity before baking it. Now that I am no longer young and foolish, I agree with Mom that this is THE way to serve squash if there isn’t time to make soup. But I’m thinking that your squash with cheese and walnuts might put Mom’s baked squash into a close second-place. It sounds fabulous, Katie.
    So does your favourite squash recipe, Ulrike.
    Oh my… what to do, what to do. We don’t have ANY squash in the house. (I should NEVER read this blog before dinner! I’m drooling uncontrollably.)

  3. Oh my word… “Mon mari loved acorn squash, cut in half, filled with butter and brown sugar, and baked.”
    Are you sure he is not South African?? Because this with the addition of cinnamon is exactly how my father likes to eat gem squash!! In fact, the way you will find butternut squash served in most South African restaurants is mashed with sugar and cinnamon 🙂 Your dish sounds fabulous…

  4. Ahm, please I would be so happy with this for a main course. Of course you can fry squash! That looks totally fabulous.
    Mon mari loved acorn squash, cut in half, filled with butter and brown sugar, and baked. Well, right who doesn’t love that has no brain or no taste buds or both.

  5. Ahhhh, the inability to find canned pumpkin was something I ran into while living in New Zealand. Nearly ruined my first Christmas abroad, until a care package from friends and family back in The States saved the day! Living abraod brings such a new perspective on so many little things in one’s life.

  6. we fry the kabocha squash with eggs and green onions – they taste great.
    Question: when you harvest a winter squash, is it absolutely necessary to cure them first, or can you eat them right after harvesting?

  7. When I was a kid I never liked “squash” either. (That’s what we called all types of winter squash. The only summer squash we ever had was fried zucchini.) Now I love it. I think my favorite is butternut, but truly I like them all.
    Since this is week #148, we are coming on the three year anniversary and there is a fantastic prize that’s been donated, so I have to get busy thinking about what we should do this year.

  8. I like pureed butternut squash soup that’s flavored with chiles. Smoky chipotles and a bit of sour cream (or as you suggest, yogurt) are a fantastic accompaniment to the sweet rich butternut puree.

  9. Ulrike, like the summer varieties are all ‘courgette’ here and the winter are pumpkin, too!
    Joanna, that sounds frantastic… I’m trying it!
    Elizabeth, I like the acorn that way too. The ginger in the soup sounds great… I love all these new ideas!
    Jeanne, cinnamon… Yum! I love cinnamon!
    Tanna, I have to admit I’ve eaten my share that way as well… forced to, of course hehehe
    Christine, your soooo welcome!
    Kate, I’m so missing my garden this year.. I always had lots and filled the celler. Now I’m forced to buy them….
    Laura, yes, it was an eye-opener! And it took me a few years to figure out how to substitute fresh pumpkin, esp. in baking.
    Nate, you can eat as soon as you pick them, provided their ripe. The curing only helps them last longer in storage… and ripens them if they were picked too early – like because of a pending frost
    Kalyn, Can’t wait to see what you do….
    Graziana, I loved the flavor of it fried!
    thehungryengineer, another great idea! the smoky flavor sounds delish

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