According to the calendar, it is November 11…how!? The holiday season is upon us, and it already feels like it is slipping away from me. Perhaps four straight weeks of stomach bugs, colds and flus has something to do with that – such is life when you are living with a human germ incubator, aka a toddler. Anyway, I am determined to keep things simple and healthy for the next month. Food wise, that means making lots of nourishing stews and letting seasonal ingredients shine in their brilliant simplicity.
The other day I found these adorable honeynut squashes at the market and could not resist. Think butternut squash in miniature form with concentrated, honey-like sweetness. I had to make something special with them for the upcoming holidays. There is something so festive about serving individually sized squash. It may sound fussy, but it does not have to be! This side dish is so simple and make-ahead-friendly.
I simply roasted these little squashes and topped with gremolata bejeweled with pomegranate seeds. Gremolata is an Italian condiment that traditionally consists of lemon zest, parsley and garlic finely minced together. It is usually served alongside rich dishes such as Osso Bucco to lend freshness and color in contrast to the richness. I thought it would also work well to cut through the sweetness of the squash. For a seasonal and festive spin, I added rosemary, orange zest and pomegranate seeds in addition to the lemon, parsley and garlic. I also added crumbled goat cheese for a little creaminess. Feta would be wonderful, too, as would cashew cheese for a dairy-free alternative.
The smell of the gremolata alone is divine. Paired with the sweet, caramelized squash, it is delicious. I love the rich hues of pomegranate and parsley set against the deep orange of the squash. Speaking of, most any variety of squash will do here. Cut kabocha, kuri, acorn, delicata or butternut into large wedges and proceed with the same recipe, adjusting cooking time if necessary. This dish would look beautiful on any holiday table. You could make it into more of a lunch or main course served atop greens with a drizzle of mustard vinaigrette and a generous dollop of hummus.
I hope you enjoy! xx Maggie