Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good Gourd!

In my adulthood, I have grown to love squash. I do have memories of my childhood turning my nose up at it and pushing it around on my plate, mashing it with a fork while muttering under my breath "squash the squash." But since then, I have grown to appreciate it's starchiness and versatility. You can do anything with different types of squash--roast them, stuff them, make ravioli. Nothing like a good gourd.

So when I saw some intriguing varieties of autumn squash at the store, I decided to make an all-squash dinner. I made Autumn Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce with stuffed mirlitons on the side (more on that later). Not sure what variety of squash this is (maybe kabocha?), but when I roasted it with fresh thyme, the kitchen smelled like fall. Delicious.

Here's what it looks like on the inside.
As for the stuffing of the wonton wrappers, I know this is the easiest way to make ravioli (I have tried to make and press pasta dough before--let's just say it will be awhile before I attempt that again). But even with this "ravioli for dummies method" I still manage to make ravioli that explodes in hot water, oozes out the sides, and basically self-destructs once I try to cook it. This attempt was no different. I know I get too excited about the filling and probably put too much in each one. But no one wants a wimpy ravioli with only a little filling, especially when it is roasted squash with vanilla beans and nutmeg. I managed to salvage a few to make the pic look pretty.

Now onto my stuffed mirliton...

Those of you not from New Orleans will know mirliton as chayote squash, but we like to speak a language all our own ("She lives across the neutral ground. When I was making groceries this morning, the clerk gave me an extra loaf of bread as lagniappe." neutral ground = median, making groceries = buying groceries, lagniappe = a little something extra.)

I used a recipe from a New Orleans cookbook I inherited from my grandmother's kitchen called La Bonne Cuisine. I can't find the same exact recipe online, but this one is pretty close. I had to eliminate the shellfish from my version, though, as the husband is allergic (bummer for him).

I'm not known for my dexterity with a knife, so (no shocker here), I destroyed a few of the mirlitons when I attempted to hollow them out to prepare for the stuffing. Oh well. The finished results may not have been as pretty, but were savory and rich (oh, my friend cheddar cheese, how great thou art).

At the end of the day, you don't taste food with your eyes, so if my meal was less than pretty, I'm ok with that. Squash dinner may be a repeat occurrence.

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