Meet Cushawn, my cushaw squash. Until recently, this humongous squash was sitting on my dining room table just begging me to do something with it; between all the studying and working I barely have time to look at my garden. So Cushawn was sent to me from my brother, who grew it in the sunny state of California. He’s a sincere and honest budding gardener, who with way more patience than me, grew Cushawn like he was his very own child. OK, I’ll stop with the personal ad.
So, Cushawn was so big (notice the past tense); I just knew when I opened him up I would have to have a serious plan in play. You can’t just cut a huge squash like him open and have nowhere to go. So what I have for you is dinner and dessert from the same vegetable. To be honest, I could have made about four or more recipes with this guy. I fizzled out after two and decided to freeze the last third because I was so tired of washing dishes (of course I day dream about dishwashers). I think I struck a good balance here with a vegan entrée of brown butter sage cushaw cream sauce with fusilli-long and spiced cushaw pie.
After making the cushaw cream sauce recipe and tasting it a couple times I would strongly suggest adding any of the following peas, rocket (arugula), or sautéed kale to provide some texture and taste diversity. The cream sauce was like silk and the parmesan and brown-butter added a nice nutty-ness. I found that my sage wasn’t as pronounced as I would have liked so feel free to kick up the sage even more if you’re into that. This recipe can also be done with just about any meaty fall harvest squash; like butternut, acorn, pumpkin, or hubbard. The sauce can also be added to macaroni and cheese to cut calories and add creaminess.
The pie was made with a regular store bought crust to move things along, but if you’ve got the time to go all the way from scratch, M. Stewart always has a nice recipe. It tastes somewhere between a homemade pumpkin pie, which can have a nice velvet and custard texture, and a sweet potato pie. I think once you grasp the general rules around making this type of spiced pie, you can make it with just about anything. So, same rules apply, this pie can be made with any of the gourds I listed above. If you see a cushaw in the grocery store, I hope you pick one up and give it a try.
Brown butter sage cushaw cream sauce with fusilli-long
2 ½ cup cooked cushaw squash
1/3 grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp salted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh sage
1 clove garlic
1 packfusilli-long (or any pasta you want)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup rocket
1 cup peas
1/2 cup sautéed kale
Start by cooking the pasta per instructions on packaging. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan add the butter, sage, garlic and olive oil and warm together until the butter starts to turn a slight caramel color, take off heat and allow to rest. In your food processor (or with a immersion blender, or regular blender) blend the squash, and parmesan until almost smooth then add the butter, garlic and olive oil mixture from the sauce pan – only add the herbs if you would like a super strong sage flavor. Blend until silky smooth, toss over HOT cooked pasta and Enjoy!
Preheat oven for 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth, except for eggs and pie crust. Taste the batter to see if it is to your liking, if so add eggs and blend again until smooth. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake in oven until toothpick comes out clean, usually about 1 to 1.5 hours.