Sunday, January 28, 2018

Spiral Butternut Squash

For Christmas Sweetie gave me a fancy spiralizer attachment set for the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I finally had time to play with it yesterday and used it to make a loooooong spiral of butternut squash. It was pretty fast and a lot of fun. One thing I found out, though, is that it leaves a fair amount of the squash untouched, so I used a sharp knife and turned the rest into smaller pieces of squash, mostly matchsticks about the same thickness as the squash spirals.

Then I had to figure out what to do with it. One idea was to boil it like pasta and make a pasta sauce with chunks of chicken and some mushrooms. Another was to coat the strands with oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and air fry it like french fries. What I finally decided to do was to put it into a baking pan after mixing it with sliced mushrooms and then pour on a mixture of soy creamer, egg, pepper, and vegan pesto to make a baked casserole.

That worked out pretty well. I did find that the squash had done some releasing of juices, so the casserole was soggy at the bottom. I also discovered that the sauce was prone to curdling, probably because I baked it at 350 degrees F. Next time I'll cook the squash in a frying pan first to make it less soggy, then bake it at a lower temperature so the sauce stays nice and smooth.

The taste was outstanding! The pesto sauce was a counterpoint to the slightly sweet squash and the mushrooms added an earthy component. Sweetie had two helpings, so I know that it was a hit.

Butternut Squash Spirals Casserole

About 4 cups spiralized butternut squash (skin and any seeds removed before turning squash into spirals)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (or more, to taste)
1 cup unsweetened soy creamer or milk or half and half
1 egg
1/2 cup prepared pesto
salt and pepper to taste (I didn't use any salt but should have)

Line a 9-inch by 9-inch baking pan with foil. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large clean produce bag or gallon ziploc bag combine the squash spirals, oil and mushrooms. Pour out of bag into prepared pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together the soy creamer, egg, pesto, salt and pepper. When fully combined, pour evenly over the squash. Use kitchen shears to snip any very long spirals of the squash.

Cover the baking pan with foil to seal and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and return to the oven and bake another 15 - 20 minutes, or until squash is tender and ends sticking up start to brown a bit.

Serve at once.

Optional: Shake together the squash spirals and the oil and then cook the squash over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until juices have been released and cooked off. Cool slightly, then combine with the mushrooms, put into the pan, and proceed as directed in the recipe.

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