An indication of Fall in Northern CA is the arrival of squash in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes. In SF, you can’t really stake the claim of foodie or urban organic farm supporter if you don’t get one of these delivered to you weekly – it’s a social requirement only counteracted by frequent visits to the farmers market which for fun loving and busy professionals is not always possible. CSA boxes are wonderful little gems delivered to your door and often you have no idea what’s going to be inside. Many times there are things I would not normally gravitate to when I go to the grocery store, this is one reason why the box is so important to me. It forces me to branch out, try different produce and create recipes. For a couple weeks in a row we’ve been getting delicata squash. I’ve never really known what to do with it. I’ve roasted it in the past with olive oil, salt and pepper and it’s made a decent side dish, but nothing that could make a whole meal. And, frankly, I was very meh about this squash. So when I collected two nice sized, rich creamy yellow and green striped specimens I decided to create a recipe that could act as a side dish but also maximize the delicately sweet flavor, much more mild than butternut squash, and conducive to a savory leaning dish that can serve as a light dinner with salad or a simple lunch.
Delicata Squash Bake
2 delicata squash (8+ inches each)
1 – 8oz can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup goat cheese (chevre style soft)
1/4 cup Glutino, gluten free breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup choppd fresh basil (you can also use 1 tbsp. dry if necessary)
2 tblsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
This is an easy and quick recipe. Just pre-heat your oven to 350. Wash and lightly scrub your squash before you cut it up because some dirt can get caught in those lovely milky yellow grooves. Slice it longways and scrape out the seeds with a large spoon. Then slice you crescent moon shapes into 1/2 ince pieces, as shown. I used a nice Le Creuset ceramic baking dish for this recipe so that I could bring my dish from the oven to the table and the quality of the ceramic would help keep the dish warm as you serve. When all the pieces of squash are cut, toss right in the baking dish with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Arrange the squash in an even layer in the bottom of the dish. Drain your tomatoes and pour them on top filling in the nooks of the squash. Then smash the garlic and peel it, I kind of just push the pieces into different parts of this dish, this makes each bite unique. I use a similar concept to incorporate the goat cheese. Sometimes with soft chevre I will freeze it so that it crumbles more easily. Fresh basil is also aromatic and wonderful, there is something special about it and when used strategically can brighten a dish in a way dried basil cannot. The basil is also something that pushed into different parts of this dish will help distribute tasty basily bits around the squashy bites.
(I’m ready for my close up.)
Once the dish is all prepped sprinkle with a thin layer of shredded parmesan, followed by a thin layer of Glutino Bread Crumbs. This keeps the parm from drying out and locks in the juices of the dish. Cover it with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until tender. You can use your judgment on how al dente you want the dish. I liked mine more like a baked salad and not too mushed together. Vinnie liked his…in his belly.