It’s been an odd Autumn so far. The stores are full of pumpkin-spice everything, the market stands clearly indicate that it’s the middle of October with the array of squash and other definitely-not-summer-anymore vegetables and fruits yet outside, yesterday it was 24˚C! I mean, the sky LOOKED threatening and October-ish and it rained a bit. But we watched that from inside the school where it was so humid we had the air conditioners running! So weird!
No matter what the temperature though, as soon as butternut squash hits the markets, I’m always so happy. It’s one of my favourite vegetables for roasting and making soups and I generally have one or two of these in the house at any given time during the fall. Last week when the weather WAS autumn-like, I had roasted up a bunch of vegetables for the week’s lunches, including one of these and as I was taking the tray of lovely caramelized cubes of squash out of the oven, I spied a dish I’m working on for my cookbook sitting cooling on the counter. It’s a gratin de pâtes au jambon (a cheesy pasta dish with ham, beloved by (French) kids) and all of a sudden I was wondering how some squash would work in that dish in place of the ham to make it vegetarian. I ended up changing the recipe a little, making a creamier version of the gratin for a very autumn-like comfort food dish that works very well with the addition of the squash.
Best thing about this? Most of the work time is hands-off – the squash roasts away in the oven and once it’s done, the pasta portion comes together in a flash. I’ve added a little bit of spice to the roasting squash and you can absolutely add more if that’s what you like. Or, change the spices up completely! It’s a very flexible dish in that regard. You can make this in individual portions or as one large dish to serve family-style and it reheats pretty well the next day (even in the microwave, the top stays crispy!).
What about you – what are your favourite ingredients/dishes to welcome the autumn?
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