By Carolyn Doyle
Call it the butternut backlash.
Butternut squash soup – once a trendy option – is now as ubiquitous as the chicken Caesar salad.
That doesn’t necessarily make it bad…but it does ensure that a lot more mediocre renditions of the popular soup are out there. I even saw a social media post recently to that effect that we should all just back away from the butternut squash soup for a while.
I’m up for the challenge, because this winter squash can do a lot more than soup if you give it a chance. Not only is it a great local food option in the colder months, it’s full of beta carotene and is a lot more versatile than you might imagine.
I think one reason we tend to shy away from using it in everyday cooking is that butternut squash is hard to handle. Peeling and attempting to disassemble a roly-poly tough-skinned winter squash with a chef’s knife is not something everyone wants to tackle after getting home from work.
So when you decide you do have the time to take on this job, here’s a tip: prepare a couple of squash and save the long “trunk” portion of one to peel and cut into long thin planks. Cut the planks into quick-cooking sticks. (I cut mine 2-3 inches long and ¼ to ½ inch wide and tall.) Placed in a container in the fridge, they’re ready to be quickly sautéed and tossed with pasta or served on their own…or in this simple and surprising combo.
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Makes 1 serving
½ cup butternut squash sticks
¾ cup broccoli florets
1 teaspoon butter
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Place broccoli and squash on separate sides of a microwave-safe plate, sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoon water and cover with wax paper. Microwave about 1 minute.
In a skillet melt the butter; when it starts to sizzle, add the squash and it cook until it begins to brown, 2-3 minutes. (Don’t stir too often, give it some time to develop color.) Add the broccoli and a little salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so. Taste; adjust seasoning and serve.