When you host a multitude of family and friends for dinner, you know you're going to have varying tastes around the table. I'm lucky that my family is usually game for pretty much anything. I try to offer up things that everyone can have or like. My dad, he's a low-carb guy, and it works for him. For our Christmas feast, he'll have a little of everything, including the potatoes and the bread, but I wanted a side he could really enjoy.
Let's just say when I made this mashed squash, he finished off the entire bowl. It really was the underdog hit of our Christmas dinner. Funny thing is, this was the dish I completely improvised at the last minute. I suppose, much like my job as a TV news producer, I cook well on deadline and while improvising.
Here's the great thing about a Winter CSA share, if you love squash, you're in luck, you're going to get a lot of it. This recipe can be pretty much made with any of them, but I enjoy the mild butternut squash the best for a traditional squash dish such as this one. This dish can also be adapted to be as rich or as low-fat as you wish. On Christmas, I made this with whole milk and a little heavy cream. I also made it last weekend, as a side, and made it with 1% and it was still fabulous.
Mashed Squash with Apples
1 large butternut squash (or 2 small ones), cut in half, stem removed, seeds discarded
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 a small to medium red onion, chopped (about half a cup)
1/2 a small to medium apple, chopped
dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk (or heavy cream if you'd like)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your squash halves and place them cut-side down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray (or a touch of oil, up to you). Roast them in the oven until tender, about 30-35 minutes. Take out of the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once they're cool enough, scrape the flesh into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, and then add the apple in there, doing the same. Throw your dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper in there at this point and cook for about 30 seconds. Now, add in your squash to the saucepan and stir until everything is combined. At this point, pour in your half cup of milk, stir, and then heat over medium until everything is warmed through.
It's a perfect side to just about anything, enjoy!