Autumn squash are showing up everywhere at the farmers markets and fall is definitely here. Delicata squash is a really easy to cook, is pretty sweet and has thin skin you can eat so you don't even have to peel them. I like to slice them in rings and roast in the oven until they are a bit caramelized, seasoned simply with a little smoked paprika, chile powder and salt.
Serve with a side of tossed greens or salad, or as a side dish. You can also use them like you would use roasted butternut squash or similar orange fleshed squash and add them to a nice classic risotto, or a grain salad with couscous, farro or barley, or you can even chop them up a little after roasting and cook up with a little cheese and tortillas to make some squash quesadillas.
And of course, try them in this quick and tasty couscous with carrots, scallions, ricotta salata cheese (or you could use feta or goat cheese), and if you like, add a little sliced sausage or leftover chicken or roasted beef or pork even. Top with a little more crumbled cheese and some chopped marcona almonds - a great autumn dish!
For the delicata squash:
- 2 medium-sized delicata squash
- 1/2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 Tbsp. ancho chile powder
- 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
- Olive oil for drizzling
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Scrub your squash and slice into approximately 1/2" to 3/4" slices. With a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and insides by inserting the spoon and just going around in a circle - it should be pretty easy to do.
On a large baking sheet (you can line with aluminum foil if you like for easy cleanup), drizzle a little olive oil. Add your slices of squash, and swish both sides of each piece through the olive oil, adding more olive oil if needed. Sprinkle the spice mix over the squash slices over both sides of each ring of squash. You may not need all of the spice mix - you can reserve for another use, like on roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Roast for 15 min., flip the pieces over and roast another 15 minutes. They should be soft and tender, nice and browned and caramelized on each side. If they are not quite tender yet, roast for a few more minutes.
For the couscous (makes about 3-4 servings):
- 3/4 cup whole wheat couscous, or couscous of your choice
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- Optional - you can add some sausage or your choice, or add leftover cooked chicken or other meat
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- roasted delicata squash from above, or sub with roasted butternut squash or squash of your choice
- 1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata, or cheese if your choice (you might start with a little less if using a saltier cheese like feta)
- Chopped marcona almonds, or sliced almonds, roasted pepitas or pumpkin seeds, or walnuts to garnish, optional
Heat up your water, olive oil, and salt in over medium high heat. When it comes to a boil, add your thinly sliced carrots, chorizo or sausage if using, white parts of the scallions, and let simmer for about 3 minutes. Add your couscous, stir together well, pop the lid on and remove from heat and let sit about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and then add the remaining scallions, the ricotta salata, the chopped squash, and mix together. Garnish with a little crumbled cheese and some chopped almonds or nuts.