Count butternut squash as our favorite member of the winter squash family. We used it the other day to fill ravioli. It’s also good in soups, risotto, casseroles, breads, you name it. The blazing orange flesh is gorgeous. And this member of the gourd family currently is at its seasonal peak, although it will stay fresh for months in a dark, dry place.
"To me, it's probably the most versatile of all the squash," says Nashville, Tenn., chef Jamie Watson. "You can go savory or you can go sweet with it. I've done pastries using butternut squash that are delicious."Watson, a culinary instructor who recently opened a Nashville café called Delicioux
, also likes to use butternut squash with pasta
.In this case, he sautés long thin strips of butternut in extra virgin olive oil
along with garlic, red pepper flakes and onion. The squash and onions are cooked until slightly caramelized. Watson then adds some fresh basil and tosses the ingredients with thin capellini pasta.The pasta is finished with a grating of cheese — Grana Padano or Parmesan — along with a “generous drizzle” of EVOO. (Click here to go to recipe
.)Watson, the featured chef in our February In Season eNewsletter
, is a strong advocate of using the best possible ingredients. He’s also big on cooking with local, seasonal ingredients. That’s why he chose butternut squash as this month’s featured vegetable for our eNews. (Click here to go to our eNews featuring butternut squash recipes
.)“I'm huge on trying to eat as local and as seasonal as possible,” Watson tells us. “I look at the season and what nature is offering, and then ask myself: 'What can I do with what nature is providing?'”Bon appétit,Claude S. WeillerVice President of Sales & MarketingCalifornia Olive Ranch