It has been an exciting year watching the beautiful heirloom squash grow. Our intention was to have these age for several months, but after having to take one of the three Cucurbita maxima Galeux d'Eysines (top left) to the mulch pile, Marina di Chioggia (top right) was not going to face the same destination. Fruit flies circling had my attention and as a portion of the stem was beginning to soften, it was time.
The deep dark green of the newly harvested squash quickly began to fade over the last month toward a softer blue-gray tone. Interesting turban-shaped bottom, don't you think?
The outer shell is quite hard, so a very sharp knife is needed. Carefully cut the squash into sections, remove the seeds (set aside... see below) and scrape away the filament. Line cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper, and place the squash cut side up.
Heirloom Squash Puree from Diana's kitchen
extra virgin olive oil
8.5 pounds roasted Marina di Chioggia squash
4 TB softened butter
1 TB raw unfiltered honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 TB heavy cream
Brush the flesh with extra virgin olive oil. Roast the squash 45 to 90 minutes at 375°F (190.6°C) or until the squash is fork tender. It depends upon the size and variety as to the length of cooking. Roasting this one took all of 90 minutes. This 24 pounder filled the entire oven.
Once the roasting is complete, allow to cool slightly, then scoop the flesh out and into a large bowl. Add all the ingredients, combine and puree in food processor in increments. The 24 pound Marina di Chioggia yielded slightly over one-third or 8.5 pounds of puree. I must say that we could eat it just like this. The flavor is so fresh and gently sweet, almost seductive.
What will I do with the puree? Squash ravioli is at the top of my list, followed by a bit more soup per dear husband's request, will freeze some and perhaps I will try my hand at some gnocchi.
Note: All the seeds were soaked in water for about 15 minutes, washed and dried. Half are still drying for next season's garden and for anyone who would like to try their hand at them. Robin, Thomas... ?
The other half was roasted in the oven: toss with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, sprinkle of cumin and bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes on a cookie sheet.