For years I’ve been a one squash woman. Sure, I’ve looked at other squashes… I’ve even tried a few here and there. Yeah, I felt guilty for straying but my squash seemed to understand. Heck, I’m only human! A woman has needs! I need to know what else is out there, right? And even though those other squash were great — really great — I always came home to my #1 squash. My sweet butternut. I can’t be expected to be with only one squash for the rest of my life, can I? I mean, I need some excitement! Something new… something… I don’t know. I love how sweet butternut is. My mom always told me that sweet was best. “Don’t go for those bitter ones. They’ll make things difficult.” But maybe I need a squash that is a little less sweet… a little… nutty! Nutty is good, right? A sense of humor! Spontaneous! Plus, not to sound shallow, but butternut had really let herself go. Her bottom was so… round. I deserved a beautiful squash! Ugh. I guess I just need a change. This time it isn’t just a fling. This is real… this is love. It isn’t you, butternut… it’s me. I want you to be in my life, but I just can’t be tied to one squash. We can still be friends, right?
Here’s how it happened. I had seen this beautiful flower-shaped squash in photos — the internet is full of photos of beautiful squash. (Just clear your browser’s history before your squash sees them.) It was called Delicata. Ahh… Delicataaaa… it just sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? So I would see these photos and think about what life would be like if Delicata was in my kitchen. My mind would wander but I was too afraid to make a move. It just wasn’t me. One day I decided to go for it. I was at the farmers market and I took a deep breath… I walked up to Delicata and picked her up. Want to come back to my place, gorgeous? It totally worked. I didn’t know what to expect once we got home… I mean, I knew how to handle butternut but this one seemed more complicated. More… advanced. This was not your squash-next-door.
I googled a bit to get some ideas. Don’t judge me! I wanted to do this right! There’s no shame in getting some tips online! It seemed easy. In fact, Delicata didn’t need to be peeled. She was cool with keeping her peel on. Wow… that seemed so crazy, but I was game for anything.
This is where things started getting wild… if there are children in the room, you might want to have them stop reading now. I sliced Delicata’s ends off. It was softer than I expected. Butternut wasn’t the most difficult squash, but she didn’t give it up easily either. I shouldn’t compare the two. Sorry, butternut. After I got Delicata’s ends off, I sliced it long ways. She was a beautiful yellow inside. More beautiful than in those photos I would look at online. I scooped out the seeds; she let them go easily. Delicata, you’re one easy squash! At least pretend to put up a fight! I sliced the squash into half-circles… her curves give the slices a nice flower-like shape. I do like a curvy squash.
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I tossed her slices with some olive oil and a little salt… then I laid each slice delicately yet deliberately in rows on a sheet pan to roast. Don’t let the slices crowd each other — these beauties need their space.
Things got really hot after that. Like, really hot. Into a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes per side. Delicata turned nice and brown. I didn’t know she could get more beautiful, but she did.
She was delicious. A little sweet, a little nutty, a perfect combination of flavors. Where have you been all my life, Delicata? She was great on her own, but I decided to get really crazy and bring some others to this party. I made my favorite pasta (Severino’s ricotta cavatelli); braised collards from my CSA in some olive oil and balsamic; make a quick sauce with some canned tomatoes, garlic, and herbs along with a little more balsamic and some pasta water to make it saucy… then came Delicata. She went on top. She deserved to be the star.
I’m not one to eat and tell (wait… I totally am… I’ve got a blog where that’s all I do…), but I will say this: that dinner, as easy as it was, was incredible. If I smoked, I would’ve had a cigarette afterwards. Delicata, you rocked my world. I hope you rock it again and again, because, Baby, you’re with me now. You’re my #1 squash.