This recipe is an adaptation from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. Caramelizing the squash first by roasting and then by mashing and frying it in butter brings out its natural sugars. This sweetness is balanced by adding the savory flavors of sage and garlic. At the end, the squash is taken to new heights by adding mozzarella cheese slices and gremolata. Deborah Madison calls it a squash pancake. I have made little adjustments here and there. First, in an effort to maximize the caramelization, I peel and thinly slice the squash to roast it. I also added more garlic as well as a pinch of lemon zest. We served it with roasted chicken legs, steamed broccoli, and biscuits, but I think it would make a delicious vegetarian entree with a nice salad on the side. —Waverly
salt and pepper
sweet cream butter
fresh sage leaves
ball fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
cloves garlic, divided and minced
Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
PREP AND ROAST THE SQUASH: Preheat oven to 400. Chop off ends of squash and then cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds. Cut into half moons about 1/4-inch thick. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
REFRY: Place roasted squash in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Melt butter in a large skillet over MEDIUM HIGH heat. When butter begins to brown, lower heat to MEDIUM LOW and add sage leaves and 1 clove minced garlic. Immediately add squash; smoothing the puree into an even layer in the pan. Let it cook until the underside is browned, about 12-15 minutes. Stir and then spread out the mixture evenly in the pan again and let it cook another 12-15 minutes. The goal is to brown it as much as possible. This releases the sugars. Stir it again and spread it out again evenly.
TOP WITH CHEESE AND GREMOLATA: Place slices of mozzarella cheese on top of squash and cover skillet. Reduce heat to LOW and let it cook until cheese softens and begins to melt, about 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the parsley, remaining garlic, and lemon zest in a small prep bowl to make a gremolata. When cheese is melted, sprinkle the gremolata over the squash and serve straight from the pan.
Waverly used to be a lawyer and is now a mother 24/7. She has made a commitment to cooking for her family and absolutely loves it even when her family does not. She is teaching them, one meal at a time, to enjoy wholesome homemade food. She abhors processed food but recognizes its insidious nature and accepts the fact that her children will occasionally get some Skittles, Doritos, or the like. Her philosophy and hope is that if she teaches them well at home, they will prefer wholesome healthy foods when they go out into the world without her.