Squash by any other name

Cooking with Cathie

Cathie CampbellFebruary 21, 2013 

Recently, I looked up the origin of the word squash. Most sources indicate it comes from the Narragansett Native American word, askutasquash. No matter where the word came from, sometimes I think a lot of kids don't want to eat it because the name reminds them of something gross, such as what happens when you step on a bug. They probably figure anything that has an unpleasant name must therefore be unpleasant in all ways. One of my sons, well into his thirties, still refuses to eat any form of squash, even though he likes just about everything else.

I love any type of squash, whether it be summer or winter types. My favorite ways to cook zucchini are to stuff halves with a meatloaf mixture or to pan fry it with onions, corn, garlic and olive oil. Now that it's winter, I've been getting hungry for acorn, butternut and banana squash, as well as some of the other varieties such as delicata, hubbard, kabocha, turban and many more.

Here are some recipes to get your taste buds ready for some delicious winter squash.

Applesauce squash muffins

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash puree
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soft, plump raisins
  • 1 cup finely chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease 2 muffin tins or line the tins with paper muffin cups; set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, oil, eggs, squash puree, applesauce, vanilla and grated lemon rind.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the other mixture and mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the raisins, dates and walnuts and blend well.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the muffins are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the baked muffins from the tins to cool on wire racks.

Caramelized butternut squash

I find it much easier to peel hard squash by poking it a time or two with an ice pick, then microwaving it a couple of minutes (or longer, depending on the size of the squash).

  • 2 medium butternut squash (about 4 to 5 pounds total)
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (original recipe calls for kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Cut off the ends of each squash and discard.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds and peel.
  3. Cut the squash into 1 1/4 - to 1 1/2 -inch cubes (large and uniform is best), and place them on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  4. Toss all of the ingredients together and spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes or until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. (Turn the squash while roasting a few times with a spatula to be sure it browns evenly.) Adjust seasonings if needed. Makes 6 servings.

Winter squash bake

  • 2 pounds acorn squash, or other winter squash such as delicata, carnival, or butternut
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cover each half tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 12 to 15 minutes, or until soft.
  2. While the squash is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Add the onion and cook until limp; transfer onion to a mixing bowl.
  3. Scrape the cooked squash into the mixer bowl along with 2 tablespoons of the parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, egg yolks and heavy cream. Beat until well mixed; add 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese and stir. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  4. Transfer mixture to a lightly buttered shallow 1-quart casserole dish and top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until the squash is puffed and the Parmesan cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Seeded butternut squash braid

From Taste of Home.

  • 2 3/4 cups uncooked cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm 2 percent milk (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (110 to 115)
  • 1/2 cup shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower kernels
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup pepitas or sunflower kernels
  1. Place squash in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash squash (you will need 2 cups); cool to 110 to 115 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk and water. In a large bowl, combine the pepitas, butter, egg, brown sugar, salt, cooked squash, yeast mixture and 2 cups flour; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  3. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Shape each into a 26-inch rope; braid ropes. Transfer to a greased baking sheet; form into a circle, pinching ends together to seal. Cover with a clean kitchen towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  5. For topping, beat egg and water; brush over braid. Sprinkle with pepitas. Bake at 350 for 18 to 23 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack. Makes 1 loaf, about 18 slices.

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