Just last week, we were enjoying gorgeous sunny days with temperatures close to sixty degrees. The breeze was sweet and light, and I was just beginning to get into the mood for serious spring fare like asparagus, fresh peas. Premature, I know, especially since we won't be seeing local asparagus or peas until May or June (and you really can't beat the flavor of fresh local spring produce). But, a girl can hope.
Unfortunately, that little taste of fine weather ended up to be just that... a taste. And, as of this week, the weather is dreary and drippy and downright COLD.
Maybe it's God's way of preventing me from being tempted by all that organic California asparagus showing up on the shelves at Outpost Natural Foods. Or maybe it's the last little boost I need to actually make good use of the last of the delicious food I've got stored up in the freezer. Either way, I'm making peace with the idea that, despite what the calendar may indicate, spring has not quite arrived.
The fact is, I've got the perfect solution to a wet, cold spring day. It's called winter squash sauce. And I've got a freezer full of it at my disposal.
The concept for this sauce was born nearly five months ago. On a brisk but sunny Saturday last October, we headed off to the market and stocked up on winter squash. I bought a number of fabulous heirloom varieties -- beautiful creamy yellow & green acorn squash, thin-skinned delicata, pimply Galeux d'Eysines, gorgeously hued Queensland Blue squash, and huge old style butternut squash.
We ate quite a bit of the squash roasted simply. I made gratins, risottos, and wonderful steamy bowls of squash soup. And then, after we'd eaten our fill of fresh squash, I started freezing squash puree for use in future recipes. And I decided to get to work on squash sauce -- something I envisioned as not only a stand-in for the standard tomato based sauce, but also a possible base for squash soup.
You could easily make this sauce any time of the year using storage squash or frozen squash puree. But, since it freezes well, it's a recipe to tuck away for one of those industrious autumn weekends when you feel like making best use of all that squash from the market.
Although the sauce is perfectly delicious on its own (or mixed with cream to make a delicious soup), it makes a delicious pasta -- paired with a bit of browned Mexican chorizo, sauteed greens, and cubes of deliciously salty Monterey Jack cheese -- and then baked in the oven until it's bubbly and browned and crisp around the edges.
Winter Squash Sauce
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Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at FOODCrush, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.