Monday, December 5, 2011

One Squash Two Recipes

I’m always intrigued by those articles in magazines where you make one chicken and eat for a week. Not because you’re eating leftovers, but because you use one main ingredient over and over again in multiple recipes. I’ve seen a number of themes played out with a whole chicken or a roast, but since the I cook meat that’s pre-portioned, de-boned and skinless, those articles have never done me much good.

But over the weekend my own “cook once eat many times” idea took hold. It started on Saturday when I roasted a butternut squash in preparation for making Butternut Squash Ravioli recipe using wonton wrappers instead of pasta. The recipe appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal the day before. I had all the ingredients, including a butternut squash from one of my last CSA deliveries.

After the squash was roasted, I put it in the refrigerator to cool before I’d finish the recipe either later that day or Sunday. I didn’t feel like getting back to it until Sunday morning, when I added the ricotta, sage, nutmeg and Parmesan and mashed it all together. After that I put it back in the refrigerator for later.

I worked up an appetite for ravioli at dinner by Christmas shopping most of the afternoon. Luckily it didn’t take long to fill and cook the ravioli. I made or dinner and lunch today, but stopped after that. I figured the ravioli would taste better if I filled and cooked them right before dinner today.

I strayed from the original recipe, skipping the sage cream sauce it suggested and instead opted for browned butter with some garlic in it along with some toasted walnuts. The dish was as wonderful as I imagined, and tasted just as good today for lunch.

But by then the idea of stretching my creativity by making a different recipe with my butternut squash mash had taken hold. I wanted to make something that didn’t require a trip to the store, or at least too many ingredients I didn’t already have on hand. Because I always have black beans, they came to mind first. I knew black beans and squash paired well together, having used them together in at least one other recipe. Add them together with the corn tortillas I also knew I had and quesadillas it was.

I didn’t have any feta cheese on hand, a good substitute for Mexican cheese like queso fresco, so I did have to stop at the store, but it only took a few minutes. I was amazed at the number of different choices, but settled on quesadilla, which I assumed would be perfect for my quesadillas.

At home with the squash already cooked, the quesadillas were easy to make. After spreading it on the tortilla, I topped with some beans and cheese. In only a few minutes I had a yummy and pretty healthy meal. Plus by changing it up a bit, the squash ravioli won’t go from really good to really boring by eating it too many days in a row.