1. BACON, GOAT CHEESE AND SPINACH SPAGHETTI SQUASH PASTA
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 . Cut about half an inch off of the top and bottom of the spaghetti squash, and discard those pieces. Cut the squash crosswise into rings about 1-inch thick, and run your knife around the inside of the rings to cut the seeds out. Drizzle the olive oil over the baking sheet, then spread the squash rings over it, moving them around a little so that the undersides are evenly coated with a little bit of oil. Season with salt and pepper, then flip the rings over and season again.
3. Roast in the preheated oven until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. When the squash is done, set it aside on the counter while you cook the bacon and spinach. It’ll be easier to handle if you let it cool for 10 minutes before taking it apart.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the bacon slices. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, just until the very edges of the bacon start to brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered out, about 5 more minutes.
5. When the bacon is done, turn the heat up to medium and add the red wine vinegar while stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet. This will deglaze your pan, so that all of the caramelized bits of bacon end up in your food and not stuck to the bottom of your pan. After about 20 seconds, turn the heat back down to low and add the maple syrup. Stir everything together just to combine, then add the spinach, one handful at a time, stirring after every addition so that the spinach wilts and there’s room in your skillet for more. When all of the spinach is wilted, turn the burner off under the skillet and let everything sit in there while you finish the squash.
6. Peel the skin away from the squash, then use a fork or your hands to pull the strands apart, adding them to the skillet as you go. When all of the squash is in the skillet, add the goat cheese and toss everything together just to combine.
7. Divide between two plates and serve immediately.
2. BUTTERNUT SQUASH SAUSAGE BAKE WITH GRUYERE CHEESE SAUCE
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed
Mild or Spicey Kramer's Italian Sausage Links (4 links)
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2 cups finely chopped kale
Preheat oven to 350F.
Toss butternut squash in olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Arrange sausage on a separate baking sheet. Bake the sausage for 12-15 minutes, turning links once. Bake the sweet potato for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
Slice sausage links into 1/2-inch disks. Add sausage, sweet potato and kale to a 9x12 casserole dish.
Meanwhile, bring the broth and milk to a low boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat to keep it at a low simmer. Whisk the flour in small increments into the saucepan to form a thick paste. Add the cheese and stir until melted.
Pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes, kale, and sausage in the baking dish. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
3. BUTTERNUT SQUASH APPLE SOUP
FOR THE SOUP:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 3 cups total)
2 large butternut squash (about 5 pounds total), peeled and diced into chunks
4 medium or 3 large apples (I like using a mix of sweet apples such as McIntosh or Golden Delicious and tart such as Granny Smith or Cortland), peeled, cored and roughly diced
3-4 cups low sodium chicken stock, divided
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
FOR THE SAGE PARMESAN CROUTONS:
6 cups 1-inch cut sourdough or whole grain bread cubes (use a hearty, crusty loaf—you'll need about 6 thick slices total)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large, deep stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low. Add the onions and cook until very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the onions cook, cut and peel the squash and apples. Add them to the pot, then add 2 cups of the stock. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover, and cook until the squash and apples are very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes depending upon how larg you cut your squash and apple pieces (smaller pieces will cook more quickly).
Meanwhile, prepare the croutons. Place the bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sage and salt, then toss to coat. Spread the cubes in a single layer, then bake until lightly crisp and brown, 10 to 12 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, toss to coat, then set aside until ready to serve.
Once the apples and squash in the soup pot are tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender or carefully transfer it to a food processor fitted with a steel blade to puree in batches. Return soup to the pot once complete. Add 1 cup of the remaining chicken stock, then stir, adding a bit more stock as needed to reach your desired consistency (the soup will thicken somewhat when stored). Leave the texture fairly thick and rich. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper as desired. Serve hot, topped with sage croutons.
4. ACORN SQUASH WITH APPLES AND WALNUT OAT CRUMBLE
3 medium-sized apples (Granny Smith variety), peeled, cored and sliced into 1/8” slices
1 acorn squash
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cranberries
4 Tbsp butter cut into cubes.
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp butter melted
Combine sliced apples, cranberries and brown sugar then toss together with a spoon.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise.
Scoop out the seeds and discard.
Score the squash with a sharp knife lengthwise every 1 inch, then in the opposite direction every 1 inch.
Crumple 2 pieces of foil into a ‘nest’ shapes, put each half of the squash on top, fill the hallow with apple mixture and press firmly with hands to pack it in.
How to make the Walnut-Oat Crumble:
Combine flour, brown sugar, oats and softened or melted butter together. Add walnuts and stir again until you get crumbly mixture.
Put cubed pieces of butter on top of apples and press them in firmly. Now top each squash with half the crumble, sprinkling not only the apples but the edges of the squash as well. Loosely cover with foil.
Bake in a pre-heated to 400F oven, on the middle rack for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. To check for doneness, pierce the squash with a knife, it should be very soft. The crumble should be crispy and golden brown.
To serve: top with sweetened whipped cream if serving cold or with vanilla ice cream if serving hot.