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4 • November 2017 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.


Eat Well & Prosper


THE WORTHY WINTER SQUASH by Executive Chef Ron Skaar ~ ronskaar@comcast.net


squash was one of the three primary


crops grown. The


principle crop was corn whose tall growth was strengthened by and became support for the beans planted underneath. Squash was planted


along


side to act as mulch by retain- ing moisture and smothering weeds.


These three crops eaten to-


gether provided a nutritional balance of carbohydrates, pro- tein, healthy fats and vitamins. Winter squash were an espe- cially important crop to


the


Redwing, MN. ~ Squash seeds, dating back 12,000 years ago, have been found in excavated Ecuadorian caves. The plant is native to Mexico and Central America, where squash was the fi rst plant cultivated by In- dians and where domestication began, around 5,000 BCE. In the early America’s


Wampanoag Indians in New England. They lived in South- eastern Massachusetts during the time of the pilgrims. The word squash comes from their Coastal Algonquin language. Winter squash are vividly colored, versatile, fl a- vorful and are packed with nutritional


value. Sweeter,


denser and more fi rm in texture than summer varieties, winter squash is delicious roasted, in warming soups, casseroles, ri- sotto, lasagna and desserts. There are many wInter squash varieties to brighten up cold- weather meals. The slim necked, bulbous “Butternut”


with its bright orange,


sweet fl esh can now be found cut- up in stores. The dull green mild fl a- vored “Acorn” is excellent for bak- ing. “Spaghetti” squash has a mild taste and crisp tex- ture when cooked, but requires more time to prepare.


Those three are the most com- monly found year-round but


SONOMA COUNTY STRONG


4 • November 2017 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.


there are hundreds of varieties of winter squash grown. The squat green “Kabocha”has a nutty and more savory earthy fl avor while its “Red Kabocha” counterpart sweeter.


is tendered and


A blend of the “Acorn”and “Sweet


the Dump-


ling”, the “Car- nival” squash has mellow and sweet yel- low fl esh. The whitish-yel- low with green striation


“Sweet Dumpling” tastes


like a sweet potato. Small and compact with an


edible rind, this squash is per- fect for individual servings. Most “Blue Hubbard” squash are huge, bumpy, lumpy and often sold in wedges. A lot of canned pumpkin pie fi llings are


actually produced from


the orange fl esh of this squash. Prized for its classic pumpkin fl avor, the “Sugar Pumpkin” has thick walls and is perfect for making pumpkin pie from scratch. While low in fat and calories, winter squash harbor signifi - cant nutritional benefi ts. They are a great source of dietary fi - ber and complex vegetable car- bohydrates. Rich in vitamins A, C, E and three B vitamins, winter squash are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, magnesium and trypto- phan, an essential amino acid. Those aforementioned Wam- panoag Indians were the na- tive guests at the fi rst Thanks- giving. Thanksgiving dinner endures throughout the whole country as the most emphati- cally American family celebra- tion that we have.


It will be hard for many lo-


cals to celebrate this years holi- day after the recent fi re storm. During the chaos, caterer Ken Rochioli relayed “About every ... continued on back page


EW & P Recipe November 2017


Cavatelli


with Spicy Winter Squash


Ingredients:


1/4 cup plus 2 table- spoons extra-virgin olive oil


6 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced


2 teaspoons crushed red pepper


2 pounds butternut (or Hubbard or your fa- vorite), peeled, seed- ed and cut into cubes 1 tablespoon fi nely chopped thyme Salt


and freshly


ground pepper 11/2 pounds cavatelli or small shells


3/4 cup fresh grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


Directions:


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmer- ing. Add the garlic, onion and crushed red pepper. Cook over moderate high heat until the garlic and onion are softened. Add the squash and thyme, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, but not mushy! Meanwhile add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain well, reserve 1 cup of pasta cook- ing water, and add pasta to the squash mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cooking water and toss gently. Add the 3/4 cup grated cheese, season with salt and pepper and stir gently. Add more pasta water if necessary.


“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lou Holtz


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