Cooking offers the chance to learn something new.
Sometimes, it’s a new cooking style – broiling or deep frying, perhaps. Other times, cooking offers the opportunity to try a new spice or a new vegetable. When I learned the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, I went out and bought two different types of yams.
Not surprisingly, when I learned the difference between the different types of winter squash, I went out and bought three different types of squash. Among them were two varieties I had never tried: acorn and ambercup.
Roasting different varieties together has its advantages. It offers the chance to try different flavors, to see how they interact. And where the vegetables come in different colors, the colors themselves provide a stunning contrast for the presentation of your meal. In this case, the yellow meat of the acorn squash helped pull together all the varying colors, without which, the meal might have looked a little bland. It didn’t hurt that the roasted acorn squash was also delicious!
Maple-Roasted Winter Squash
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME:45 minutes
YIELD: Serves 4
WHAT TO GRAB:
1 medium butternut squash
1 medium acorn squash
1 medium ambercup squash
1 head of garlic, separated but not peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
6 to 8 slices of beef or turkey bacon
16 whole fresh sage leaves
French bread for serving
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel and seed the butternut squash and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Don’t fret if the cubes look big: the high heat will shrink them considerably. Place the squash and whole, unpeeled garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, then the maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Mix until the squash is well coated.
3. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Lay the squash and garlic evenly on the sheet, and bake for 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, remove the squash from the oven. Lay the bacon slices over the squash and sprinkle the sage leaves over the mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the squash and garlic are tender and caramelized. Remove the bacon strips to paper towels, and allow them to drain briefly. Chop the bacon strips into 1-inch pieces, and then toss with the squash and sage. Season to taste, and serve warm! Serve the garlic with a side of warm French bread!