We usually roast our butternut, acorn, and delicata squash. We like the flavor of winter squash roasted slowly in the oven. The only problem is that word: slow. It takes a while to roast a whole squash or two, so lately we've been turning to a familiar technique, used in a new way for squash. Braising.
Braised or simmered squash is much quicker than roasting: it cooks in just a few minutes, and you're left with the benefit of all that creamy sauce, too. Of course, it does mean that you have to cut up the squash, which does take some time, but this method still tends to be faster than roasting.
Do you ever braise winter squash? Do you have any favorite recipes for it? This one has sage and garlic and a mix of winter squash; it makes a fantastic pasta sauce!
Mélange of Winter Squash Braised in Cream
3 to 4 pounds mixed winter squash, including acorn, delicata, and butternut
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 to 12 sage leaves, minced
1 1/2 cups cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel and cut the squash into 1-inch chunks and set aside.
In a large, deep pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until it is golden and fragrant — about 5 minutes. Add the sage leaves and cook for another minute. Add the squash and fry until it's beginning to get hot — just a minute or two.
Pour in the cream, bring to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the squash is at least tender enough to be pierced with a fork. The total cooking time will depend on how soft you want your squash to be and how large the actual chunks are.
We cooked this a little longer and ended up with a chunky puree with some bite-sized bits of squash in it too. You could cook it longer and turn it into a real puree, or shorter, and have toothsome bites of squash in a creamy sauce.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
(Images: Faith Durand)