Let’s start by clarifying the term squash. To say the least, it’s a bit confusing. For example, all pumpkins are squash, but not all squast are pumpkins. Didn’t help, right?
Squash is a type of fruit that grows on a vine. Like all fruits, it comes from a fertilized ovary in the base of a flower and contains the seeds of the plant it came from. There are four species of squash, all of which grow in different parts of the world. Pumpkins belong to one of these species, just as zucchini is. For a more in-depth explanation, read this article HERE.
Now, on to the recipes!
If you’ve never eaten, seen or prepared eggplant rollatini, it’s easy and absolutely delicious!
The basic premise of rollatini are thin, full slices of eggplant (usually about a ¼” thick), breaded and then pan-fried in oil until crisp.
You then place a filling at one end of the eggplant, roll it up into a cannoli-like tube, and top it with sauce and grated cheese (usually Marinara and then Parmesan or Romano).
This recipe uses this filling.
Spaghetti Squash Rollatini With Marinara & Parmesan
1 Lg Globe Eggplant, peeled, sliced in ¼” panels (8 slices minimum) 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour, seasoned with salt & pepper 2 Cups Milk 2 Eggs, beaten 2 Cups Italian Bread Crumbs 2 Cups Vegetable or Canola Oil (to fry) 1 Spaghetti Squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds and strings removed ½ Lb Bacon, cut in ½” Pieces ¼ Cup Green Onion, cut in ¼” pieces on bias 2 TBSP Fresh Sage, chopped ¼ tsp Thyme, dry leaf To Taste Salt & Pepper 1 – 24 oz Salvaggio’s Marinara Sauce ¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese
In 3 separate shallow bowls, place a mixture of milk and eggs, then a bowl of the seasoned flour, and lastly a bowl of the Italian bread crumbs.
Dredge eggplant slices in flour, and then dip the beaten egg mixture into the bread crumbs. Repeat for all of the slices.
Heat oil in a shallow saucepan until medium hot (approximately 350 F). Then pan fry each slice of breaded eggplant until golden and crisp on each side.
Set the cooked eggplant slices aside and prepare the filling.
Sauté bacon until crisp and reserve the crisp bacon and grease separately.
Preheat an oven to 350 F. Then paint the inside of each spaghetti squash half with bacon grease and season them with salt and pepper. Place the halves upside down on a baking tray, add a splash of water (to create some steam while roasting), and place them in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the outer skin is soft to the touch.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven, allow to cool to the touch, and then gently scrape the inside pulp into a medium-sized bowl. As you scoop, the pulp should release from the skin in coarse, spaghetti-like strings.
In a medium-sized, non-stick fry pan, heat 2 TBSP of the reserved bacon grease and sauté the green onions for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spaghetti squash, sage and thyme, and then season the mixture with salt and pepper.
When cooked enough to handle, place approximately ¼ cup of the spaghetti squash mixture at one end of a breaded eggplant slice and roll into a tube. Repeat for all slices.
Place all of the rollatinis in a casserole dish and return to the 350 F oven to re-heat while you also heat the marinara sauce.
Serve two rollatinis covered with a half cup of hot marinara sauce and 1 TBSP of grated Parmesan cheese.
Our second recipe is for another one of my favorite winter squash desserts this time of year, and that would be my Pumpkin Crème Brulee. I must admit I’d prefer this dessert over a slice of pumpkin pie any day of the week and TWICE on Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Crème Brulee
It makes approximately eight 6-ounce servings.
8 Egg Yolks ½ Cup Granulated Sugar 3 Cups Heavy Cream ¾ Cup Fresh, Cooked Pumpkin Puree (canned pumpkin can be substituted) 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract ¾ tsp Ground Cinnamon ¼ tsp Ground Powdered Ginger ¼ tsp Ground Allspice 2 TBSP Lt. Brown Sugar 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
Heat the cream in a saucepan until barely simmering. Then remove from the heat. Do not burn.
In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar until creamy and light.
Slowly add the hot cream into the beaten yolk mixture while whisking.
Stir in the pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.
Set out eight 6-ounce shallow ceramic ramekins on a baking sheet, and fill each one to within ¼” of the brim with the pumpkin brulee mixture.
Place the pan of ramekins in a 325 to 350 F oven, and add approximately 1 cup of hot water to the pan to create a semi water bath and to make steam while baking.
Bake approximately 30 minutes or until the filling is just set. It will quiver like Jello®.
Remove the baked brulees from the oven, let cool at room temperature 30 minutes, and then refrigerate them (covered) for at least 4 to 6 hours or until firm and fully chilled.
Mix together the 1/3 cup granulated and 2 TBSP brown sugars. Then, one by one, sprinkle an even dusting of the sugar 1/8” thick from edge to edge of each ramekin.
To brulee, you can individually blow torch the surface until bubbly and brown. or you can place the entire pan of brulees directly beneath an oven broiler to achieve similar results.
Allow the finished desserts to rest approximately 15 minutes in the refrigerator, so the burnt (brulee) sugar can harden and allow the filling to cool a bit.
For more recipes from our award-winning culinary team, click HERE.
[caption id="attachment_124896" align="aligncenter" width="1800"] Delightful phyllo cups.[/caption] Food has always been an important focus during the holidays and if you’re fortunate enough to be invited…