More than 50 people crowded into Seven Stars bakery on Hope Street Oct. 29 for the Summit Neighborhood Association’s fourth annual cooking competition whose unifying ingredient was, appropriately, squash.
There were about 15 different dishes using it and a panel of three experts to judge them. In addition, there was a people’s choice determined by paper balloting by everyone who got to sample the offerings. Prizes were gift certificates to local businesses.
Rounding out the culinary nature of the evening were beer tastings presented by the Berkshire Brewing Co. brought in by Swan Liquors and olive-oil samplings from Olive del Mondo, both Hope Street merchants.
First prize, a $25 certificate to Seven Stars, went to a squash/garlic dish made by Dan MacLellan. Second, $25 to Olive del Mondo, was for farro by Meg Griffiths and third, $20 to Kreatlier fabrics, for triffle by Lexi Dantzig. The people’s choice award was a tie between roasted butternut squash lasagna by Elise Meyer and butternut squash hash by Kim Ahern and Jenna Lafayette, so they each got certificates, one to Frog & Toad gifts and the other to Stock kitchenware.
The judges were Jan Faust Dane, of Stock, Peter Kammerer, of The Sandwich Hut, and Sandy Kohring, last year’s first-place winner.
Recipes for the winning dishes are below. Next year’s main ingredient is open to suggestion.
Peel two yellow squash or whatever kind you like.
Heat a large frying pan, add extra virgin olive oil and put in 10-14 cloves of garlic, letting them turn golden brown but be careful no to let them burn.
Add slices of squash and saute slowly on both sides, turning after about 12-14 minutes.
Grate fresh cinnamon all over squash and don’t be afraid to use a lot. Also salt and pepper both sides. When squash is tender, put in half stick of unsalted butter and stir.
Taste and add cinnamon if needed.
Serve with risotto, mashed potatoes, rice, fresh peas or pasta such as orzo as this is a dish from the Perugia province of Tuscany in Italy.
Sweet potato, cubed
Butternut squash, cubed
Crisp bacon in fry pan, remove, set aside to cool and chop into small pieces.
Saute onion in the bacon grease, setting aside when soft.
Melt butter in a fry pan, add sweet potato, butternut squash and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste and sauté covered until soft.
Mix in the onion and bacon and crisp in the hot skillet.
Serve with fried egg on top.
Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Lasagna
9-12 whole-wheat lasagna noodle sheets (preferably no-boil)
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups cubed)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 1/2 cups cubed)
12 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
bunch of sage leaves
olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lay cubed squash and potatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil (only about 1-2 teaspoons). Hand coat squash and potatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle with nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Roast for 50 minutes, tossing about every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then mash with a potato masher or fork.
For mascarpone filling, heat skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Add shallots and garlic, and whisk every 30 seconds or so for 2-3 minutes. Butter should brown and shallots and garlic should be fragrant. Be careful not to burn butter. If it does burn, start over (totally worth the effort). Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, combine mascarpone, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, remaining salt and pepper and the shallots, butter and garlic. Mix until somewhat smooth and spreadable.
Spray non-stick coating in 8×8 pan and lay in 2-3 (depending on size/brand) lasagna noodles. Spread half of the squash mixture evenly over top, then spread/crumble half of the mascarpone on top of that. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and remaining parmesan on next, then repeat with one more set of noodles, squash, mascarpone and cheese.
Top with sage leaves that will crisp up and bake for 45 minutes, or until cheese on top is golden and bubbly.
Farro Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup semi-pearled farro
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
3 ounces ricotta salata (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel squash, then halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut into 3/4-inch chunks.
Coat large baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil, spread squash in single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes, turning pieces over halfway. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, toast the farro in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 4 minutes.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups of water and pinch of salt, cover, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until grains are tender and most water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
While farro simmering, in a small bowl whisk together vinegar, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and granulated sugar until dissolved. Stir in onion, barely be covered by vinegar mixture. Cover and set in fridge until needed with 30 minutes ideal.
In a large bowl, mix butternut squash, farro, onion and its vinegar brine, crumbled cheese and pine nuts. Toss