I first discovered winter squash about a year ago when I randomly decided that I was going to try a new veggie every week. I got through butternut squash, kale, and turnips before I threw in the towel...more because I had to run from store to store trying to find the produce in question than because of any lack of enthusiasm on my part. This little introduction, however, was all I needed to realize that winter squash and I were meant for each other. Since that fateful first recipe of butternut squash mashed with thyme and parmesan cheese, I have gone on to include this root vegetable, along with its sisters, the acorn and buttercup varieties, in as many of my meals as possible. The recipe that I've made tonight, roasted butternut squash with shallots, combines the sweetness of the squash and brown sugar with the tartness of balsamic vinegar in a way that really pleases the palate. Balsamic and brown sugar are one of my favorite flavor combos and so this hit the spot after the achiness that set in after my baby-sitting gig today (who knew that holding an 8 lb 1 month old for 2 hours could be so tiring).
On a completely unrelated side note...if anyone is reading this who lives in the Boston area, this month is Oreo month at JP Licks (a homemade ice cream shop that features new flavors every month). I went there last night with my friends to find the menu is currently studded with flavors such as Strawberry Oreo, Fresh Banana Oreo, Mint Oreo, Negative Oreo, Cheesecake Oreo, and Peanut Butter Oreo. I highly recommend stopping in if you get a chance. I had the strawberry oreo and it was GOOD. Strawberry and pistachio were my favorite flavors as a kid, and now that I'm older I tend to veer more towards vanilla-based flavors, but I felt like I couldn't pass up the opportunity to revisit a childhood memory. After all, they do say that memory is strongly linked to taste (as well as smell and hearing, in my case)!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Shallots
Serves 2, adapted from Seasonal Ontario
20 oz butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
First, I preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next, in a bowl, I mixed the butternut squash, shallots (cut into long-ish pieces), brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, EVOO, salt, and pepper. I then poured this mixture into a 9x13 baking pan. When the oven was heated, I roasted the squash for 40 minutes while mixing it halfway.
I served this dish with braised chicken with black olives, a simple entree that mixed sauteed chicken cutlets with white wine and black olives. However, it would probably be good with any warm wintry dish, such as pork chops or steak.