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Butternut Squash Brightens Your Winter Table

Try this sweet versatile gourd as a side dish or main course

En español | Just when we're all mourning the midwinter dearth of fresh produce, along comes butternut squash to transform our salads and sides, and to provide a much-needed nutritional boost.

Just a cup of this powerhouse squash is chock-full of antioxidants, providing 457 percent of your daily need for vitamin A and half the daily value (DV) for vitamin C. "These antioxidants help protect the immune system, which helps the body fight off diseases," says Stacey Antine, a dietitian and author of Appetite for Life. Butternut squash is also rich in fiber — a single cup has more fiber than a slice of whole wheat bread.

Art Smith, who was Oprah Winfrey's chef for a decade, lost more than 100 pounds a few years ago by eating unprocessed whole foods — including butternut squash. "It has great flavor and texture," he says, and can be easily pureed for soups, roasted whole or grilled. Antine suggests freezing fresh cubes that you can thaw later to keep your immune system in tip-top shape year-round.

Art Smith's Smoked-Paprika Butternut Squash With Forbidden Rice

Forbidden Rice, Butternut Squash Recipe (Kat Teutsch; Food Stylist: Heather Meldrom; Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong)

Kat Teutsch; Food Stylist: Heather Meldrom; Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong

Rich in fiber and vitamins A and C, butternut squash makes a delicious side or main dish this time of year.

Serves 6

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup black rice (also called forbidden rice)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped

1. Heat the oven to 400° F.

2. In a deep saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and onion, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onion is soft. Stir in the rice and 2 cups water, add salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender but still has a little bite, about 40 minutes.

3. While the rice is cooking, toss the squash with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the paprika, maple syrup and salt to taste. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. The squash should be fork-tender when done. Remove from the oven.

4. When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a serving bowl. Fold in the squash and sage leaves. Garnish with the walnuts and serve immediately.

Nutrients per serving: 309 calories, 5g protein, 45g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 13g fat (2g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 786mg sodium

Sesame and Soy Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Squash, Butternut Squash Recipe (Kat Teutsch; Food Stylist: Heather Meldrom; Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong)

Kat Teutsch; Food Stylist: Heather Meldrom; Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong

Add nutritional value to a side by mixing sweet potato and butternut squash.

Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch crescents
  • 1 parsnip or turnip, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Fresh cracked pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. In a large bowl, mix the sesame seeds and oil, garlic, tamari or soy sauce, and olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat.

3. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the vegetables on the sheet, season with pepper, and roast for 20 minutes. Stir the vegetables with a spatula or wooden spoon and roast for 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden.

Nutrients per serving: 212 calories, 4g protein, 24g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 13g fat (2g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 695mg sodium

Grilled Butternut Squash, Fontina and Rosemary Pizza

Squash Pizza, Butternut Squash Recipe (Kat Teutsch; Food Stylist: Heather Meldrom; Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong)

Kat Teutsch; Food Stylist: Heather Meldrom; Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong

Take a break from pepperoni, and try butternut squash on a homemade pizza.

Makes 24 slices

  • 1 recipe pizza dough (see below)
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/2 pound fontina cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground dried chilies (or red pepper flakes)

1. Prepare the pizza dough.

2. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

3. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and brush with the olive oil. Place cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, until soft. When cool, peel the skin off the squash and slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices.

4. Raise the oven temperature to 425° F. Place 1 pizza dough on a floured baking sheet; brush with the olive oil. Bake until golden brown. Repeat with the other dough.

5. Brush the first pizza with the olive oil, then sprinkle with half the fontina, half the squash and half the rosemary and Parmesan. Follow with the second pizza.

6. Drizzle pizzas with the olive oil; return them to the oven. Bake until the cheese is bubbly. Season with salt and dried chilies or red pepper flakes to taste. Slice and serve.

Nutrients per slice: 148 calories, 5g protein, 18g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 398mg sodium

Pizza Dough

Makes 2 pounds

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 110° F)
  • 1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves.

2. Combine 3 cups of the flour and 2 teaspoons salt on a work surface. Make an indentation in the center; add the yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon oil. Knead until firm and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon oil. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl, and turn to coat it completely with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

4. Punch down the dough, divide it in half, and shape it into 2 balls. Oil another bowl with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Place 1 dough ball in each bowl and roll to coat them in oil. Cover and let dough rise for 1 hour.

5. On a lightly floured surface, press each ball into a round approximately 1/2 inch thick and 9 by 12 inches in diameter.

Squash and Gorgonzola Tart

Squash Tart, Butternut Squash Recipe (Kat Teutsch; Food Stylist: Heather Meldrom; Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong)

Kat Teutsch; Food Stylist: Heather Meldrom; Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong

Butternut squash is a versatile vegetable that can be used with appetizer, lunch and dinner recipes.

Serves 8

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 14 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled

1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter and salt until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the water and pulse until the dough comes together. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll into a round, then press into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill for 30 minutes more.

2. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Prick the bottom of the pastry dough, line with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. 3. Slice the squash into thick slices and spread on a baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, cook the spinach in 2 tablespoons oil until wilted. Drain and let cool.

4. Whisk together the eggs, yolk, cream, Parmesan and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Spread the spinach in the pastry shell; top with squash, Gorgonzola and the egg mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Nutrients per serving: 409 calories, 11g protein, 29g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 28g fat, 131mg cholesterol, 517mg sodium

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