It’s about this time of year when cans of cranberry sauce and pumpkin puree start gracing the ends of grocery store aisles. Do you know what’s really in many of those cans of pumpkin though? Butternut squash! It’s true; the USDA is pretty lax on their definition of pumpkin, and so long as the veg inside falls under the same genus as the orange jack-o-lantern type, it’s technically pumpkin.
It makes sense really; squash varieties often have a sweeter taste and are less stringy than what we typically think of as pumpkins, so they make for a better pie filling.
To get your own squash puree, do it the quick, simple way, and get roasting. This is how I remember my mom making squash when I was growing up. Just slice your cucurbit in half, scoop out the seeds, poke some holes in each half, place on a cookie sheet with a bit of water, and get cooking. Best of all, no peeling involved! Just scoop out the pulp when done.
For a very Autumnal take on lasagna, combine butternut squash and another Fall share star, kale. This version sounds super yummy! Just be sure to peel your squash in this case, the recipe forgets to mention that point. There seem to be divided camps on whether one should use no boil noodles for lasagna, but for this recipe I would recommend using them as the sauce is more creamy than saucey. Regular noodles may not cook completely.
Lastly, we of course need to include some recommendations for squash pie, because, pie. Here’s a savory version with cumin, onions and spinach. It call for using filo dough, but that stuff is a pain, and honestly, fairly tasteless. Get yourself a regular frozen crust and save yourself the hassle. This sweet take on squash pie will surely rival any traditional pumpkin pie, and though it’s from Martha Stewart, it’s easy as…pie (which is usually pretty hard, come to think of it). This recipe says to steam the squash, then puree it, but just roast it instead to save yourself the trouble of peeling gourds and dragging out the food processor.
(Editor’s Note: remember the microwave cooking trick for squash as a quicker alternative to getting one cooked!)