September 16, 2010

Butternut Squash Spoon Bread

I give up. I can't wait for the weather to cool down before I start embracing the fall. So I chose to live in a city that is insanely hot, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the fall when everyone else gets to right? So this is my first "official" fall recipe. Once I start, I can't seem to stop. Some women have shoe addictions, but mine is definitely a "fall" addiction. Whether it's a new pumpkin recipe, or a ridiculously cute fall decoration, I am hooked. I blame my addiction of fall on starbucks. Yes, starbucks. I have always loved this time of year, but it is the pumpkin spice latte that sealed the deal. It is the only drink from starbucks that I find worth the money, and just one sip and I start hearing Michael Buble and John Mayer playing in my head. (I really get into fall right?) I can't help it. Im addicted.

This year is going to be a little different. It is going to take a lot for me to resist the urge to bake any and every pumkin, maple, pecan, or apple recipe I find. I am challenging myself to do my best at focusing on healthier recipes. For example, I am coming up with a pumpkin oatmeal recipe to make instead of the pumpkin whoopie pies I have been dying to try. With that being said, I can't say there won't be any butter and sugar filled desserts occasionally posted on here. I mean we have to start slow with breaking the addiction right? Let's just face it, it is going to be hard. But I know I can create some great recipes for us to enjoy!

This Butternut Squash spoon bread is the best way to start. I took a savory approach to this instead of going sweet. It was delicious. Completely captured every aspect of "fallness" I have been missing. It is light, almost like a souffle, but more like a puree. It requires a few (easy) steps, but well worth the preparation.

Also, side note, but a very important one, my husband (Toby) and our good friend Josh Dailey have just embarked on an incredible journey. Most of you are aware of Toby's auto-immune disease, and if you know Toby you know he is always dreaming big and has overcome and accomplished a lot in the past few years. Also, (not to brag, but I am so proud of him!) Toby has a real heart and passion for people. This is one of the things I love most about him. He has a realy big heart, and he is doing something huge to inspire others to dream big.

He (and Josh) are going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in February to raise awareness and to inspire those with Crohns and Colitis to dream big despite their diseases. They are working on a website at the moment and I will let you know as soon as they get it up, but for now check out their facebook page (Live Beyond Boundaries) and give them some enouragment and support. This is not going to be an easy ride for them as raising funds will be very tough. But as Toby says, nothing is too big, or too hard to accomplish! So keep them in your prayers as they embark on this journey.

Butternut Squash Spoon Bread
This is delicious served alongside a spinach salad and some roasted chicken. Definitely a must if you love butternut squash!
adapted from Super Natural Cooking

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 3 cups cubed)
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fresh romemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, chopped
4 shallots, sliced into thin rounds
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can use regular whole wheat, just sift it to make softer)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup boiling water
3 large eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Position rack in middle of the oven, and butter a 2 quart casserole dish. Heat a large pot of boiling water with a steamer insert. Steam squash in steam basket until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside. 

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute shallots for 3 minutes until just barely softened. Add in the salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently for 5-6 more minutes until lightly brown and soft.

In a large bowl combine the flour with a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the water until incorporated, and most of lumps are gone. Add in the squash and ricotta. Use an electric blender and blend until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until mixed. Stir in shallots, pour in greased dish, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is browned and and squash has set. Serve with a dusting of parmesan.

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