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Squashes Rule

Another squash recipe, this one from our columnist.

by Jean Hecker

We have to say goodbye to tomatoes, corn, zucchini, and peppers, but it’s a big hello to cabbage, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower!

There is a little black wall clock in my kitchen hanging just over the door on the way out. The hands have stopped at a quarter to 3 and it has been like that for many years. It was the first thing we saw in the morning and the last thing we saw at night when it hung over the kitchen sink in our old family house.

Somehow it became a harbinger of the daily routines, oftentimes Mom or Dad calling out from the den, “Jeanie or Linda, what time is it?” We would immediately look up from the kitchen table at that little black clock and dutifully report the time.

We also looked at that clock when Linda and I snuck in after a night out at Liberty Bell or Brownstone or The Inn on the Mall or The Holiday Inn, some of our favorite dance clubs—and we knew that we were either in trouble or had gotten in under the wire.

No matter what the day or season, that little clock kept an eye on the whole family and even though it didn’t work when I moved into my current house, I still felt obliged to put it up on the wall. I look at it every morning and every night, still stuck at a quarter to 3, still a faithful reminder of days gone past. I wonder what we were doing when that clocked stopped. Was it a quarter to 3 in the morning or a quarter to 3 in the afternoon? I will never know, but I will always treasure it, for it recorded all the days of our lives.

Here it is at the end of another summer season. It’s time for heartier meals and here is a great rice and butternut squash recipe that I tweaked from a “Lidia” recipe.

Serve it on its own or paired with a roasted chicken, or grilled steak. Great for those cold winter days that are fast approaching!

Butternut Squash Rice Casserole

  • 2 cups of Carolina Rice
  • 1- 8 oz pkg. of frozen butternut squash or roast your own for 1 cup of squash
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of Pecorino Romano grated cheese (I get my supply from ShopRite)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • Dried tarragon for sprinkling on top of finished dish along with
  • 4 oz. pancetta, sautéed until crispy, then crumble and set aside to top finished dish.

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, put in the water and frozen squash, bring to a boil and add the rice, return to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Rice should be cooked and soft, then turn off the heat, add the butter and cheese and mix well. The mixture will turn a light orange color. Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle the dried tarragon and pancetta on top and serve! Sprinkle additional cheese as desired. It will serve four people. n

Jean Hecker has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.

Food for Thought