In Season: Butternut Squash

By Pamela Brill

This hearty gourd has a whole lot of life beyond the Thanksgiving dinner table. Packed with plenty of powerful nutrients, butternut squash offers fiber, potassium for strong bones, and vitamin B6, which boosts the nervous and immune systems. Its bright, tangerine hue reflects its most powerful health benefit: carotenoids, which protect against heart disease. Chef Stacey DiVerde in Long Island, New York, shares these scrumptious dishes that capture butternut squash’s distinct flavor:

Butternut squash soup with apple and bacon
Cook 8 strips of bacon until crisp; cut into pieces. Add 2?½ pounds diced squash to a large stockpot; cook until browned. Stir in 1 diced Granny Smith apple, 1?½ tablespoons finely chopped sage, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper; add 4 cups low-salt chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil; simmer until squash and apple soften. Add half the bacon to soup; puree. Reheat soap and garnish with remaining bacon.

Roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette
Season 1 squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup,
1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine ¾ cup apple cider, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons` minced shallots; cook 6 to 8 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ½ cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix 4 ounces ulcer-easing baby arugula with squash; top with vinaigrette.

Roasted butternut squash, rosemary, and garlic lasagna
Layer 3 pounds diced squash in a shallow baking pan, roast for 10 minutes at 450 degrees; then mash roasted squash. In a heavy saucepan, combine ¼ cup butter, 4 tablespoons flour, 4 cups milk, and 2 tablespoons rosemary. Stir in 1 head roasted garlic, simmer for another 10 minutes; then add mashed squash. Pour 1 cup sauce into baking dish, and cover with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread remaining sauce over pasta, and assemble another layer. Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.