This recipe offers a peek inside Golubka Kitchen Cooking Circlemy membership, where I share monthly cooking videos, recipes and newsletters. For this October, I wanted to come up with a recipe that would really help us step into fall, to get excited about the crisper air and cozier times ahead, to welcome nature’s quieter and more introspective season. I wanted this recipe to feel ceremonial and calm, something nice to make on a slow and quiet autumn day, perhaps with a candle in the kitchen and a hot drink by our side.
Winter squash is, of course, autumn’s superstar. I tend to get pretty bluesy when I start noticing the first signs of fall, but seeing auburn and ocher piles of squash at the farmer’s market always helps me shake off those blues. Just like every season, nature gives us exactly what we need in autumn. Winter squash is more dense and starchy than summer’s water-rich produce (tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant, melons), and it nourishes in a more warming and grounding way, helping us harmonize with the weather.
This Twice Baked Squash recipe is based on the same principle as Twice Baked Potatoes. We first roast the squash whole, until it becomes impossibly soft and collapses in the form. This produces beautiful, creamy and velvety squash flesh. We then scoop out the meat, dress it up with some spices and bake it again until it’s golden and crispy on top. Try mixing and matching different types of winter squash, as they all vary in color, texture, sweetness and overall flavor. This might be my one of my favorite parts of the process – just the assortment of shades of yellow, orange and red within the squash world is pure color therapy.
To counteract the squash’s soft texture, there are fennel and pumpkin seeds. It’s such a flavor/texture bomb and so easy to make! Buttery, garlicky, spicy, a little spicy – you might want it on everything going forward.
Twice-baked squash with fennel seeds & pumpkin seeds
- about 4 lbs/1.8 kg of winter squash, such as acorn, butternut, honey nut, kabocha, delicata, kuri (try combining different varieties)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (I like Miyoko’s) or olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- pinch of chili flakes, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Prepare a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Place the squash on the baking sheet and roast for 1-1½ hours, or until the squash is completely tender when pierced with a fork or knife and has collapsed into the pan. Let cool a little.
- Increase oven temperature to 425°F (220°C). When the squash has cooled enough to handle, cut it in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Remove the meat from the shell into a 10″-12″ cast iron skillet. Add butter/oil, maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste. Mash the squash with a potato masher, working in the other ingredients as you go. Spread the squash in an even layer, making some peaks and valleys on the surface with your spoon. Roast for another 40-45 minutes, until the squash is browned and crisp in places and has pulled away from the sides of the pan.
- Meanwhile make crispy. Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and let it heat up. Add garlic, pumpkin seeds and fennel seeds. The oil should be shimmery at this point. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the pumpkin seeds are plump, the fennel is fragrant and the garlic is lightly golden. Turn off the heat, add chili flakes and a pinch of salt.
- Drizzle the squash with fennel and pumpkin seed crisps and serve immediately.
If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can use a baking dish or even a pie dish for the squash. Since most baking pans are smaller than a 10″-12″ cast iron, you may want to reduce the amount of squash you use, or bake it longer to get the top crispy and brown.