Celebrate the month of November with two varieties of squash

Jennifer Alexander Ruple

Fall is a time of transition. It’s the smell of apples baking and the sight of jack-o-lantern grins. It’s a walk in the woods with crunching leaves underfoot. It’s that feeling when something warm and comforting is brought to the table. Squash is the perfect food to bring all the fall feels, and I’ve chosen two varieties to highlight this week, mashed potato and butternut. Roasted mashed potato squash tastes just like its name, and I’ve given butternut squash an upgrade by pairing it with Gruyere cheese, Italian sausage and fennel. Enjoy!

Roasted Mashed Potato Squash

Creamy-white colored mashed potato squash is similar in size and shape to acorn squash. When cooked, its insides bear a stark resemblance to its namesake both in taste and texture. Simply roast, whisk with butter, salt and pepper and enjoy this side dish with fewer calories and carbs than potatoes. 4 servings

  • 2 pounds mashed potato squash (2 medium size)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Heat oven to 375 F.

On a cutting board, cut 1/4 of an inch off the root and stem end of each squash. Stand each squash up on its end and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds.

Brush the cut sides of squash halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash cut-sides down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Roast squash until tender and soft, about 40 minutes. When the squash is finished roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Scoop the squash out of their shells and place in a mixing bowl. Add butter and salt and pepper to taste then whisk until creamy.

Butternut Squash Casserole with Sausage and Fennel

This casserole is rustic, warm and highlights the best of the season – creamy butternut squash, sweet apples and caramelized fennel. It’s paired with Italian sausage and topped with a layer of Gruyere cheese resulting in a hearty and flavorful dish perfect for any autumn evening. 6 servings

  • 2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
  • 1 medium size fennel bulb, stalks and fronds removed, cored and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
  • Fresh sage leaves and fennel fronds for garnish

Heat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine squash and apple cubes, olive oil, salt to taste, pepper, sage, thyme, and 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup. Spread mixture evenly on baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

In a large skillet, add a small amount of olive oil and cook the sausage until brown. Remove from pan. Add in the onion and fennel and sauté until both are caramelized. Remove from pan and add to sausage.

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When the squash and apples are finished roasting, remove from the oven. Turn the oven to broil.

In a large bowl, combine the sausage mixture, the squash and apples, the remaining 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon into an 8 x 8 casserole dish. Top with cheese and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly and browned.
Garnish with fresh sage leaves and fennel fronds.

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