I’m loving the farmer’s markets right now, the air is crisp and the stalls are bursting with bulging roots in colors from deep purple, red and orange. Pomegranates, quince, pears and apples are piled high just begging to be put into pies, crisps, cobblers. But what steals the show are the mountains of pumpkins and squash. There are of course the familiar acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, but also some not so familiar, such as the squat green kabocha squash with its’ nutty, earthy flavor. It is delicious in a risotto with sage and pine nuts or even put into a cake with a brown sugar cream. There’s the thin skinned Delicata, whose flesh is reminiscent of a sweet potato and then there is the Blue Hubbard that has a sweet tasting orange flesh underneath the gray-blue skin. A new favorite of mine is the Red Kuri Squash with its smooth yellow flesh that has a subtle chestnut- like flavor is delicious pureed into a creamy soup topped with caramelized shallots.
One of the most simple squash dishes has to be a roasted sugar pumpkin with butter and thyme. This is my go to, whether I have a roast chicken or thick cut pork chops this sweet golden pumpkin is a satisfying fall side dish, perfect for a cold night. -s
Sweet Roasted Pumpkins with Butter & Thyme
4 small to medium squash such as a sugar pumpkin
4 Tbsp. butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
A small bunch of fresh thyme sprigs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds from the center. Lay the squash cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide the butter between each squash half together with a little olive oil, a good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg over each. Strew the thyme sprigs over the squash halves.
Roast for an hour, checking occasionally to see how they are doing. You want the kitchen to smell sweet and the flesh should be so tender it gives way easily to the touch.