My life is a sea of quickly-scribbled post-it notes.
Badge, for the most part, is a patient guy. From the start he respected, even if he did mock, my obsessive compulsive need for dishwasher organization. He raised an eyebrow at the number of dishes I moved into our tiny basement apartment, and then helped me unpack them anyway. But one of the major threads of discussion I remember from those first years of living together centered around his exasperation at the sheer number of sticky notes floating around our house, and what’s more, my consistent response to his inclination to toss them: don’t throw that away! That one’s important!!!
Despite his repeated gifts of journals and notebooks and other gentle nudging to corral my kitchen notes, our house remains a peppered landscape of quickly sketched recipes.
A few months ago I left the grocery store with armloads of butternut squash that were just too adorable to pass on. Some I roasted with oil and spices, and others became thick butter perfect for morning oatmeal or, if I’m honest, devoured one bite at time directly out of the bowl at my kitchen table. But life and holidays and family visitors shifted to center stage and documenting the Siege of the Squash had to wait.
There was one more triumphant scrap of flourescence that has been eagerly calling to me these last few months, one that was shuffled together in a heap of lists and drawings of Rudolph saving Santa from certain death and other important papers waiting to be filed away.
So despite the seventy-pushing-eighty degree weather happening here in San Antonio, I feel justified sharing one more ‘winter squash’ recipe as winter still rages through most of the rest of the country—or so I’m told. This cozy, vegetable-packed version of marinara is rich and hearty and perfect for warm and cold weather alike. It freezes beautifully and, once reheated, needs only a light whisking over heat to bring it all back together; so take this as your green light to make a double batch, freezing some to enjoy another day.
You might want to make a note of that.
3 Tbs. avocado oil, divided
½ medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1” cubes
½ acorn squash, seeds removed & cut into wedges
1 ½ lbs tomatoes such as Campari or Roma, halved
1 medium carrot, cut into 2” pieces
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed slightly
1 Tbs. butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
½ cup pure pumpkin puree
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
On a large rimmed baking sheet combine the squash, tomatoes, carrot, garlic, and a handful of fresh sage.
Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread vegetables in an even layer on the pan and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast 30-35 minutes or until largest pieces are fork-tender and nicely caramelized. Remove pan from the oven and remove acorn squash peels once cool enough to handle.
In a heavy duty stock pot heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and butter over medium heat and sauté the onion and shallot, stirring occasionally, until translucent, fragrant, and lightly browned.
Carefully tip the contents of the baking sheet—including any juices—into the stockpot. Add the pumpkin puree and stir gently, working up any browned bits up from the bottom of the pot. The mixture will be thick, but avoid the impulse to add water to it at this point. Simmer gently over low, partially covered, 5-10 minutes to let the flavors come together.
Working in batches, puree the sauce in a high-powered blender until smooth (a regular blender will work as well, but you may need to stop occasionally to stir things around). Repeat until all the sauce has been pureed, adding a small amount of water as needed to thin.
Adjust for additional seasoning and serve over regular or Edamame pastam spaghetti squash, or grilled chicken or meatballs. Really the possibilities are endless.
½ cup (125g) serving yields: 116 cals, 7g fat, 15g total carbohydrates & 2g protein