Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The "L" Word: Leftover Squash? You've Got a Party!

Confession time: I almost always make too much food. Instead of cooking for three, I somehow think I'm cooking for a dozen. And big eaters though we are—a pound of pasta barely feeds the three of us—when I roast a big, meltingly tender and delicious squash, there tends to be some left over. And I'm a real stickler (OK, some might say a Nazi) about not wasting food, so there are always bits and bobs of leftovers hanging around.

My best kitchen helper with the Sibley.

So the other afternoon, when we got an invitation to join my brother and his family for braised lamb shanks that evening, I volunteered to bring a nibble for sharing before dinner. With no time to go to the store, I was digging around in the fridge for ideas (what, you don't do that?) when I ran across some roasted Sibley squash we'd had a couple of nights before. Thinking that if a bean spread is good enough for Italians, if a chickpea dip is good enough for the Lebanese, then maybe a puréed squash dip might solve my evening's challenge.

I checked out a couple of resources online and found a New York Times recipe that sounded like a good place to start. Subbing in a couple of ingredients and adding a couple of others, I think it's a winner, garnering admiring "mmmmmms" and "yummmmms" from the crowd of critical tasters gathered around the counter. See what you think!

Roasted Squash Spread

2 c. roasted squash
2 green onions, light halves only, roughly chopped; finely chop the greens for garnish
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/4 c. parmesan, grated
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt to taste

Place roasted squash, whites of green onions, garlic, peanuts, parmesan and nutmeg in bowl of food processor. Pulse a few times to get ingredients broken up, then process while drizzling in the olive oil. Add more oil if necessary to get a fairly smooth, thick purée. Serve in small bowl showered with chopped green tops of green onions. Goes well with simple crackers, pita bread or pita chips.

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