Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: roasted squash

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk's to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, often turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.

"There are so many things I love about squash, not the least of which is how sturdy they are," says Arris. "A lot of people like to peel the squash, dice up the flesh and freeze it raw, which is a perfectly decent method, except for one thing: The prep work sucks," she admits. Instead, advises Arris, who shares her roasted squash recipe on the next page, roast the squash first, scrape the flesh from the skin and then freeze it. "Having precooked squash on hand is fodder for near-instant meals, plus it makes squash soup or sauce a cinch and doesn't require any fancy knife work, which makes it faster and less dangerous for those home cooks who have less-than-great knife skills," she notes.

See also: Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: La Vie en Marczyk cassoulet

Roasted squash Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Ingredients

Several pounds mixed winter squash (acorn, butternut, buttercup, spaghetti, kabocha, pumpkin, etc.), washed well and removed of any dirt clumps Water Large roasting pan with inner-fitting roasting rack

Method

1. Using a good, sharp knife, slice a small layer from the base of the squash to give yourself a flat bottom. Hold the squash firmly and slice in half. Use a large spoon to scoop out seeds and pulp. 2. Add about 2 inches of water to roasting pan (so it comes to just below the roasting rack). Place squash halves cut-side down on the rack and place in oven. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the thickest part of the squash is cooked through (it should yield easily when pierced with a knife). 3. Scoop flesh from the skin and place in a container or plastic bag. Allow to cool in the refrigerator completely before sealing the container. If freezing, make sure the container is airtight, or double-bag the squash, removing bag of any excess air. Squash will keep in the freezer for at least six months.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog and Marczyk Fine Wines.



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