For the past week, all of my meals have come out of one of two boxes in the pantry (pasta, cereal), the freezer (full-on frozen meals, not just vegetables), a wrapper (since when do I eat 3 Muskateers?) or a plastic take-away bag (sushi, curry, salad, fries).
All I can say is: Ugh. My insides just plain hurt. And, thank goodness for roast squash.
You see, it's my newfound cure-all, perfect for when I'm busy or just plain lazy, which I am apt to be. Much has been made of the five-ingredient recipe, and that doesn't even include salt and pepper. Well, this one has just four (!), seasoning and all.
Ready? OK ... buttercup squash, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add a baking sheet and an oven, roast and serve.
I know that sounds boring, but, oh, it's so not. The star here, as you can guess, is the squash. Buttercup is a winter variety, my first taste of the season, and it yields to good things like oil and heat with no resistance. Its natural sweetness, much like the more familiar acorn squash is released to mingle with a little salt, its tough flesh turning soft and crisp. As you can imagine, I like it with a tangle of pasta.
Not convinced? Give it a try. It's no harder than take-away, and a worthwhile change from chicken with yellow curry.
Roast squash, simply
1 medium buttercup squash (other winter squash like delicata and acorn work, too)
3 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to cover
1/2-teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4-teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
This is a really basic recipe. The measurements work best if done by eye and personal taste, and the instructions are open for tweaking and experimentation with other seasonings. I do recommend trying it simply at least once. The natural taste of the squash is just wonderful.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel squash and cut into one-inch cubes. Combine with olive oil, salt and pepper until evenly coated.
Spread on a large baking sheet. Roast until the squash cubes give in to the pressure of a fork and look crispy on the outside, about 20 minutes. (I'd stay close to the oven after 10 minutes, checking in on the squash every few minutes after. Ovens vary, and the best way to know if the squash is done is to fork and, finally, taste test.)