-erin molnar, assistant markets manager
Two weeks ago, we had our annual squash sampling at Howe Meadow. In what has become a tradition, we had the delight of hosting Larkin Rogers of the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center as our demo chef. As usual, Larkin’s recipes have been in high demand since. Wait no longer! Here they are!
Butternut Squash Pizza
- First, make your pizza dough. I used a dough mixing whole wheat and white flours. Let the dough rise. While it is rising, you can organize all other ingredients.
- Butternut squash, 1, peeled, sliced thinly, and tossed in a little bit of olive oil, perhaps a tablespoonful, just to coat lightly
- Red onion, 1, peeled and sliced thinly
- Mushrooms, 1 cup or more if desired, washed and coarsely chopped (I used shiitakes)
- Tomatoes, 2 large, chopped coarsely
- Cheese, grated, Mozzarella, Provolone, Fontina, Gruyere, or crumbled goats’ cheese—I like a lot of cheese so you use as much or as little as you prefer, at least 1 cup!
- Parsley pesto topping
Roast the oil-coated squash slices in the oven just until tender. Set aside to cool.
Saute the onion slices (you may dice the onion if you prefer) in butter or olive oil—I use butter because it caramelizes better; allow onions to caramelize slightly—this is NOT the same as letting them burn! Usually you need to add a little water to the sauté pan after the onions have started to color slightly; stir them so they don’t burn but allow them to get browned and limp.
Remove the onions from the sauté pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms and more oil or butter (just a tiny amount of either) to the pan; sauté the mushrooms and remove from heat.
If you want the final baking to go very quickly, pre-bake the pizza crust just let it start to brown very slightly. Otherwise, simply roll out the dough and shape it to fit the pan before building your pizza. Put the toppings on as you wish. I put the roasted squash slices on the crust for the first layer, then mushrooms, then onions, then tomatoes, then cheese; you may wish to mix them up or change the order—it’s your pizza!
Bake in a hot (400F) oven until the cheese has melted and browned a bit. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before topping with parsley pesto.
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup toasted pinenuts (optional)
- Olive oil, enough to make a paste, ½-1 cup? (depends on the size of your parsely bunch)
- Parmesan cheese, optional—I did not use it—because I didn’t have any, 2-3 Tbsp.
In a food processor, grind the garlic and pinenuts with a little oil, just to make a slightly lumpy paste; add the parsley and pulse in food processor until nicely chopped up, adding oil as you process to keep the mixture loose. Add Parmesan cheese if using. Season with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate until using.
Pumpkin-black bean chili
- Neutral oil (canola, for example), for sautéing onions, about 3 Tbsp.
- Onion, 1 large red or yellow, peeled, diced
- Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
- Ground cumin, about ½ tsp., adding more to taste
- Crushed chili peppers or chipotle flakes, approx. 1-2 tsp.
- Tomatoes, 6 whole, cut into medium dice (or 1 can crushed tomatoes)
- Black beans, 1 can (15 oz.)
- Pumpkin, 1 small, peeled and seeded, cut into 1” cubes
- Corn, 3 ears, shucked, kernels removed
- Chopped thyme, oregano, cilantro, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cheese, grated pepper jack, crumbled goats’ cheese, sharp cheddar; plenty
Heat the oil in a large pot and then add diced onions. Saute until lightly colored, then add garlic and sauté only until fragrant. Add cumin and crushed pepper and sauté briefly, just until spices are fragrant. Add tomato—if using raw diced, cook until they wilt, and throw their juices before adding black beans (and their liquid); if using canned, bring to a boil before adding black beans (with liquid) and pumpkin.
Once pumpkin is knife-tender, add corn and continue cooking. Season with chopped herbs—if fresh herbs are unavailable, use good dried herbs, herbes de Provence or Italian mix, to taste.
Salt and pepper to taste. Add more chipotle pepper if you like it hotter. Simmer until reduced and thickened slightly. Serve or cool if not using immediately. To serve, sprinkle generously with cheese and chopped fresh herbs (if using). Can top with sour cream, whatever normal chili toppings you like. Serve with or without rice or tortilla chips, as you wish.
Feel free to mess around with the heat, the spiciness, the ingredients and their quantities, as you wish.
As if that weren’t enough… Last week, Shannon Lees – the juried winner of the local Vegan Iron Chef competition – through her squash hat into the ring.
Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese with Broccoli
- 3 cups roasted butternut squash
- 1 lb pasta
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 3-6 hours
- 1 cup veg broth
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- a few shallots
- 4 cloves garlic
- small bunches sage, thyme, rosemary
- 1/4 cup white wine
- handful shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 cup broccoli
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Chop and roast butternut squash @ 400 degrees for an hour.
Drain cashews. Prepare pasta.
In pan, saute shallots, mushrooms, rosemary, sage, thyme and broccoli. Add white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer.
In blender, blend squash, cashews, veg broth and vegan cream cheese.
Drain pasta water. Combine blended and sauteed ingredients with pasta.
Serve immediately or bake uncovered @ 325 degrees for 15 minutes.