Feb 01 2011

Cooking it Fresh: Acorn Squash

I found many options, both online and in a few of my cookbooks, for my previously mentioned task of reviving acorn squash's reputation to be something I want to eat. The recipe that stopped me in my tracks was for this acorn squash lasagna. Lasagna is one of the dishes I miss most from my meat eating days and I relish any opportunity to experiment with varying vegetable reincarnations.

When the dish was baked and ready to be served, I still wasn't convinced of how much of a taste difference there'd really be between this acorn squash lasagna and a butternut squash (or even pumpkin) lasagna.  I thought that somewhere in the baking process the cheese taste would overtake any other taste.

Thanks to our surprisingly super-powered oven, my acorn squash didn't take long to roast.  And the prep for this dish was easy, but incredibly messy.  After our dinner, we tackled the 45 minute task of cleaning up a kitchen that was strewn with acorn squash seeds, skins, cheese, and butter.  I'm pleased to report that I've rediscovered acorn squash's merits.  The squash not only held their own against the ricotta and Parmesan, they were the dominant taste and color of the dish.  I just finished the leftovers for lunch and I'm already looking wistfully checking the fridge for more.

Acorn Squash Puree


3.5-4 pounds of acorn squash

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the whole acorn squash on a rimmed baking sheet; bake, turning occasionally, until very tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife.  Depending on your oven, this can take between 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Check diligently!
  2. When cool enough to handle, halve each squash lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds; scrape out flesh from squash halves, and transfer to a food processor (discard skin). Process until smooth. You can also season it and serve it as a side dish.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine squash purée with 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Cook over medium heat until hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, and sprinkle lightly with ground nutmeg.

Acorn Squash Lasagna

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 4-6


Olive oil, for baking dish

4 cups Acorn Squash Puree, or 2 packages (12 ounces each) frozen winter squash puree, thawed

1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

8 no-boil lasagna noodles, half of an 8-ounce package


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.  *You can also use a standard lasagna dish and place ingredients more in the middle. In a medium bowl, mix squash puree with sage, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In another bowl, mix ricotta with 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Lay 2-3 lasagna noodles (depending on the size of your dish) in the bottom of prepared dish; spread with half the squash mixture. Layer with 2-3 more noodles, and spread with half the ricotta mixture. Repeat layering with remaining noodles and mixtures. Sprinkle top (ricotta mixture) with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.
  3. Cover baking dish with foil and bake until lasagna is heated through, about 45 minutes.  Remove the foil, and continue baking until golden on top, 15-20 minutes.