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Squash Three Ways with Christin Ortiz

Recipes by Christin Ortiz; photos by Olivia Bauso

The change in leaves signals our taste buds to crave warmer, earthier foods and comforting, hearty recipes. Italian and Latin-American cuisine-lover, Christin Ortiz shares three creative recipes for cooking squash in your home this season.

Butternut Squash Mushroom Empanadas

Butternut Squash Dough:

1 small/medium butternut squash – halved and seeded OR a package of cubed squash

2 T. coconut oil

1 t. salt

1.5 cups AP flour

On a baking sheet, drizzle with vegetable or olive oil salt and pepper, add a little water to the pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 30-45 mins (depending on the size of squash), until soft. Remove squash from the rind and allow to cool completely. You want to yield about 2lbs (3-4 cups) of mashed/pureed squash.

In a bowl with the squash, add coconut oil, salt and flour-- stirring in gradually to mix in completely. Start by mixing with a spoon, switching to using your hands once you’ve added enough flour to make the squash firm. Once all the flour is in the bowl, continue to knead until it is smooth and has the feel of playdough.

Wrap in plastic and leave at room temperature while you prepare the filling. Depending on how much filling used for each empanada, you will probably have leftover dough. Store in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Let sit and warm up to room temp before using.

Mushroom Filling:

4 cups mushrooms of your choice-- measured raw, sliced thin (Try mixing crimini and shiitake together!)

1 small white or yellow onion, sliced thin

3 cloves garlic, minced

⅓ cup red wine or red wine vinegar

Add a few Tablespoons vegetable oil to a large hot frying pan. Add onion and garlic, stirring frequently. (You’ll be very sad if you burn the garlic!) Once onion is soft, add mushrooms to the pan and allow to brown. To deglaze, add wine or vinegar to the pan while it’s nice and hot. Once the liquid is reduced and the vegetables are soft, remove from heat.

To Assemble the Empanadas:

Pull off a piece of dough that fits in the palm of your hand (about 3” in diameter) and place in the center of a piece of plastic wrap. Add another piece of plastic wrap over the dough and flatten to create a small circle. Roll flat to about a 5” disc. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a bottle of wine does the trick. (You should always have a bottle of wine!) This can also be done on a clean counter surface and bed of flour.

Add 2-3 Tablespoons of the filling to one half of the disc. Moisten the whole edge of the disc by dipping your fingers in water. Fold the empty half of the dough over the filling side and press the edges together. (You can secure the edge by pressing with a fork, but this is not necessary if you make sure the edges are pressed together.) 

Fry ‘Em Up:

Heat 2 inches of vegetable or corn oil in a large pan over high heat to 350 degrees. Place the empanadas in the hot oil and cook for 2-3 minutes or until brown on both sides.

Acorn Squash Bullseye with Sausage Cream Sauce

To Prepare the Squash:

2 acorn squash, cut into rings with seeds removed (3-4 slices per squash)

Oil of choice

Salt, Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat each ring with oil, salt, and pepper. Place the rings on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes until soft, but not mushy. Set aside and allow to cool.

Sausage Cream Sauce:

1lb mild or breakfast sausage

2 cups heavy cream

½ t dried sage

2 cloves garlic, minced

Add olive oil to a hot large frying pan at medium heat. Add sausage and break into small pieces as it cooks (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic to the pan and allow to soften.

Once soft, add heavy cream, sage and salt to taste. Stir thoroughly and lower heat to simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until it thickens up. Add flour of choice for desired thickness.

Assemble Bullseyes:

Fry ring of squash in pan until golden on one side, then flip. Add a little oil to the center of the ring, then immediately drop one or two eggs (whatever you’re feeling or what can fit) to the center of the ring.

Flip when egg is white through the bottom. Remove from heat when the eggs reach your desired doneness (Don’t kill that egg, runny is delicious!) Once plated, add sausage cream over top and call it Brunch.

Spaghetti Squash Fritters

To Prepare the Squash:

One large Spaghetti Squash, halved and seeded

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 t. salt

Place squash face down on a baking sheet, coated in vegetable oil. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Use a fork to flake the strings of squash out of the rind onto a towel to cool and drain. Once completely cool, transfer squash to a mixing bowl and add cornstarch and salt. Mix together lightly using your hands until the squash is completely coated

Fry ‘Em Up:
Add enough vegetable oil to a large frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Over medium-high heat, get that oil rippling hot. Using a fork, pull small clusters of squash from the bowl on drop into the pan. Flip once they hold together and start to brown. Once they are crispy on both sides, pull from the oil and allow to drain and cool on a rack or towel.

Dipping Sauce:

2 T. honey

1 t. ground ginger

1 t. salt

2 T. lime juice

2 T. olive oil

12oz. coconut cream

In a food processor add all ingredients. Pulse together to mix ingredients and then blend thoroughly to thicken. Pour in a bowl for dipping, or drizzle on top!

Christin Ortiz has been working in restaurants since she was 19. Starting in the front of the house, she realized early on she preferred the back of the house. Having worked in different kitchens, she is most proficient in Italian and Hispanic cuisine. Most recently Christin ran the food program at Joe Bean Roastery, where she focused the menu on her Latin-American heritage. She loves sharing her passion for food, and wants everyone to be able to cook the food they crave!

Want a little more hands-on experience cooking? We can help! Check out all of our upcoming food (and cocktail!) classes here

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