When the cold weather sets in, there’s one particular ingredient that is a real pleasure to prepare and eat: squash.  Winter squash, such as acorn, butternut and pumpkin, require longer cooking times than summer squash, and are perfect for roasting and caramelizing. They also boast a longer shelf life.

When selecting squash, look for unblemished skin, deep color and vegetables that are a heavy weight for their size.  They can be kept in the refrigerator or in a cool dark place for at least a month depending on variety. 

My recipe for roasted butternut squash, onion, tomato and feta tart has a slight sweetness that’s a great foil to the saltiness of the cheese. It’s really delicious when served with a side salad or soup for lunch or a light dinner. The risotto, another cool-weather favorite, is a great vehicle to carry the caramelized acorn squash, while the spaghetti squash is scented with thyme, which goes well with goat cheese. The pecans in this dish are a great accent, while the balsamic vinaigrette ties it all together. For an interesting dessert, try the pumpkin mascarpone-filled cake with spiced syrupÑ my twist on tiramisu. Making use of store-bought pumpkin puree and traditional winter spices, like nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, this light dessert is easy to prepare.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Roasted Butternut Squash, Onion, Tomato and Feta Tart

Caramelized Acorn Squash Risotto with Brown Sage Butter and Pancetta

Thyme-scented Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese and Arugula

Pumpkin Mascarpone Cake with Spiced Syrup

Andrew Evans is owner/chef of Thai Ki in Easton.

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