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Squash recipes for cooler weather

Simple roasted squash is the best thing to cook once the cooler temps of autumn arrive.
Simple roasted squash is the best thing to cook once you feel the first cooler temps of autumn arrive.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Though winter squashes like butternut, acorn and my favorite, kabocha, are around in grocery stores most any time of the year, I can’t seem to bring myself to eat them until after the first time temps dip below the 70s. Thankfully, that moment is now, and I’m celebrating by turning on my oven to roast some squash and pumpkins for the week’s meals ahead.

Simply roasted squash wedges, crispy and caramelized, make a great standby to keep in the fridge for virtually all my meals. Most of the squash and pumpkin I roast will be blitzed and then frozen in containers for Thanksgiving dishes in a month, but first I’ll set some aside for this hearty squash soup brightened with ginger. While I’m in the mood to make rib-sticking food, I’ll bake up these squash gnocchi, drizzled with sage-infused brown butter and topped with cheese and breadcrumbs — rich but worth the indulgence. For something lighter, I’ll make my former colleague Genevieve Ko’s chicken and squash hot pot; I love the texture kabocha squash attains when simmered gently in the chicken broth. And then for breakfasts on chilly mornings before the day heats up, I’ll take some of that pureed pumpkin and make these sweet loaves topped with salty, PSL-spiced breadcrumbs. At the end of the week, I’m sure to have my fill of squash before the temps spike back up again.

Weiser Farms roasted squash

Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 10
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The only thing that makes simple roasted squash better is this tart honey reduction that gets drizzled over the squash once it’s done.

Creamy butternut squash soup with ginger

Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 6

Simple, rustic and filling, this soup, accented with fresh ginger, is a great use for smaller honeynut or acorn squash.

Squash gnocchi with sage butter

Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 4 to 6
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Almost like squash polenta, these rounds of pureed squash are stacked and then baked with brown butter, sage and cheesy breadcrumbs.

Kabocha Squash and Chicken Hot Pot

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Simmered kabocha squash adds healthy heft to this light hot pot flavored with chicken drumsticks.

Roasted Pumpkin Loaves With Salty Spiced Bread Crumbs

Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Makes 2 loaves
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All the pumpkin spice you like but mixed into a buttery bread crumb topping adds crunch to a simple loaf cake made with roasted pumpkin.

Ask the cooks

I have a ton of rosemary from my garden. How can I use it?

— Isabelle L.

Rosemary is probably my favorite herb, so I use it in just about everything. Stuff sprigs inside whole chickens for roasting. Skewer cubes of lamb or pork shoulder on the stems through the tougher, woody end (keep the leaves on at the tips) like kebabs for grilling. Steep some sprigs or leaves in simple syrup for making cocktails or lemonade. Chop up lots of leaves and stir them into softened butter then roll it up in a sheet of wax paper to make a log of compound butter; slice and melt it over cooked steak, fish or chicken while the meat rests. Stir some chopped leaves into cornbread, cornmeal-based cakes, polenta or olive oil-based cakes; corn and olive oil are perfect complementary flavors to rosemary.

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FOOD BOWL
The Los Angeles Times Food Bowl is sponsoring an online Cook-a-thon fundraiser benefiting World Central Kitchen on Saturday, Oct 17. The event, which will be livestreamed starting at 5:30 p.m. via The Times’ YouTube channel and Facebook page, will feature 30 chefs and special guests from around the world. It will include cooking demonstrations, kitchen tours, recipe tips and conversations from an all-star roster of local and international culinary talent, plus celebrity appearances from actors Danny Trejo, Jack Black, Jamie Lee Curtis and Eric Wareheim, among others.

Other guests will include Alice Waters, Ana Roš, Dominique Crenn, Éric Ripert, Ferran Adrià, Fuchsia Dunlop, José Andrés, Josh Niland and Lamar Moore. Participating L.A. chefs and restaurateurs include Daniele Uditi (Pizzana), Dave Beran (Dialogue and Pasjoli), Greg Dulan (Dulan’s), John Cleveland and Roni Cleveland (Post & Beam), Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Jon & Vinny’s), Jonathan Whitener (All Day Baby and Here’s Looking at You), Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec), Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Socalo and Border Grill), Nick Montgomery (Konbi), Steve Samson (Rossoblu) and Wes Avila.

To register for this free event, please go to eventbrite.com.

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