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Squash Season

Sure, we love butternut and acorn, but there’s a world of winter squash out there—let us introduce you

by Ivy Manning

fromFine Cooking
Issue 95

Hubbard

Probably the largest squash you’ll find at the market, these teardrop-shaped behemoths are often sold in manageable chunks, so you can buy only what you need. They have thick skin that ranges from dark green to bluish gray and a dense orange flesh with a rich pumpkin flavor. Hubbards sweeten with age and can be stored whole in a dry place at cool room temperature for up to five months before using.

More ways with Hubbard squash: Roast bite-size pieces of Hubbard tossed with chopped fresh rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper in the same pan with a whole chicken or turkey breast. Or roast squash halves with toasty spices like coriander, fennel, cumin, nutmeg, or curry powder and then mash the flesh.

Spaghetti

Named for the crisp spaghetti-like strands of their cooked flesh, these football-size squash are more about texture than flavor. Once cooked, they make an unexpected ingredient in shredded vegetable salads or a great stand-in for spaghetti. Their mild flavor pairs well with just about any dressing or sauce. Store spaghetti squash for several weeks at room temperature.

More ways with spaghetti squash: Toss cooked spaghetti squash with your favorite marinara sauce or pesto, or sauté with brown butter and fresh herbs.

Kabocha

A Japanese variety, these squat medium-size squash have a rough, dark-green skin that’s sometimes mottled with orange or faint white stripes. Choose kabochas that are heavy for their size with a matte (not glossy) skin. Store them in a cool, dry place for up to a month to deepen their sweet-potato-like flavor. The starchy yellow-orange flesh holds its shape when cooked in liquid, so they’re great steamed or added to stews and braises. Their sweet, nutty flavor marries well with Asian ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil.

More ways with kabocha squash: Add peeled, diced kabocha squash to a coconut-milk-based Thai curry or a vegetarian chili.

Delicata

These small squash have yellow or cream-color skin with dark-green stripes. Because of their thin, edible skin, they don’t have a long shelf life, so inspect them carefully for bruises and cuts and store them at room temperature for no more than two weeks. Delicatas have moist flesh that tastes like a combination of roasted corn and lemon zest; their flavor becomes richer when roasted or sautéed.

More ways with delicata squash: Slice and steam until tender and then toss with a balsamic vinaigrette and pine nuts. Or roast with other root vegetables and drizzle with melted butter.

Photos: Scott Phillips

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