Magazine article Sunset

Starting with Squash. It's a Creamy-Sweet Base for Three Dinner Starters

Magazine article Sunset

Starting with Squash. It's a Creamy-Sweet Base for Three Dinner Starters

Article excerpt

Smooth and sweet baked winter squash forms the base for three attractive first courses. Creamed spinach and broiled prosciutto top the squash in the first dish. In the last two inspired by Indian and Chinese recipes-toppings include exotically spiced ground meat.

Golden Squash Florentine

1 pound fresh spinach or 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 large shallot, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 cup half-and-half (light cream)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

1/4 teaspoon each dry mustard and pepper

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg Winter squash (directions follow)

3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

Rinse and drain fresh spinach, discarding roots and wilted or yellowed leaves. Put leaves in a 4- to 5-quart pan on high heat. Stir often until leaves wilt, 2 to 4 minutes. Put spinach in a colander; let drain. When cool, press to remove excess moisture.

Over medium heat, combine butter and shallot in same pan used for spinach. Stir often until shallot is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir until mixture is golden. Remove from heat and whisk in half-and-half. Place on medium-high heat and stir until boiling. Mix in Worcestershire, mustard, pepper, spinach, and nutmeg to taste. If made ahead, cover and chill up until next day; reheat.

With a sharp knife, cut cooked squash into 6 equal portions. Place, skin down, in baking pan. Top squash equally with spinach mixture; drape with prosciutto. Broil 8 inches from heat until prosciutto is sizzling and tinged with brown, about 4 minutes. Set pieces on individual plates. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 137 cal; 8.3 g protein; 6.8 g fat; 13 g carbo.; 313 mg sodium; 21 mg chol.

Winter squash. Rinse 2 pounds winter squash-Hubbard, banana, butternut, Kabocha-or 3 acorn squash (each about 3/4 lb.). Cut squash in half; scoop out and discard seeds. Put squash, skin side up, in a 9- by 13-inch pan. Add 1 1/2 cups regular-strength chicken broth. Bake, uncovered, in 350[deg] oven until tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Use hot or warm.

Khyber Lamb and Squash Appetizer

Winter squash (recipe precedes)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 pound ground lean lamb

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 cup regular-strength chicken broth

About 1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons slivered green onions

Lemon wedges

When preparing squash to bake, rub flesh with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder. …

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