Tag Archives: squash

Opo Squash Soup

Opo Squash Soup
Serves 4
Long and narrow, Opo Squash, also called Lone Melon, Peh Poh, Yugao and Cucuzzi is native to Africa but can be found growing in Southern Europe and Asia. Ranging from yellow to green in color with a firm, whitish flesh, Opo Squash is most commonly used in stir fries, soups and stews. It is available all year round and is a good nutritional source of Calcium and Vitamin C.
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  1. 1 Opo Squash (about 1 3/4 lbs.)
  2. 2 cups Chicken Broth, strong
  3. 1 Tbsp. Butter
  4. 1 tsp. Garlic, fresh, chopped
  5. 1/2 cup Onion, chopped, medium
  6. 2 Tbsp. Lemon Grass, minced
  7. 2 Tbsp. Opal or Thai Basil, fresh
  8. To Taste - Salt & Pepper
  9. 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  10. 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shred
  11. To Garnish - Croutons or Toasted Bread
  1. Heat butter in sauce pot over medium-low heat until melted.
  2. Add garlic, lemon grass and onion and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes.
  3. Peel squash and cut into quarters lengthwise. Remove seedy portion. Cut squash into cubes.
  4. Add squash and chicken broth in sauce pot and bring to boil.
  5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash becomes translucent and tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Puree squash and chicken broth mixture in blender until smooth.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, return soup to the sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
  8. Sprig fresh basil leaves, rinse clean and chop or cut into fine strips.
  9. Portion hot soup and add shredded Parmesan cheese, sour cream, fresh basil and croutons as garnish.
  1. This soup may also be served cold with the same garnishments.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Calabaza Squash Fritters

Calabaza Squash Fritters
Serves 6
Calabaza is native to the Caribbean and West Indies. Round in shape, its green skin and orange flesh have a flavor akin to Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash and Pumpkin. Enjoy this Caribbean inspired recipe as a delicious fall treat.
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  1. 2-3 cups Calabaza Squash, diced 1"
  2. 2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
  3. 1/4 cup Pecan or Walnut Pieces
  4. 1 Egg
  5. 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  6. 1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  7. 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  8. 1 1/2 cups Self Rising Flour
  9. 3-4 cups Vegetable or Canola Oil
To Finish
  1. 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  2. 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  1. Peel and de-seed calabaza and cut pulp into chunks.
  2. Boil squash in a large pot of water until tender.
  3. Drain water, mash calabaza, then drain again.
  4. Mix 1 ½ cups of mashed calabaza together with butter, egg and sugar.
  5. Sift flour with nutmeg and cinnamon and add to calabaza mixture.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Heat oil in a saucepan to 350° F, leaving plenty of additional cooking space. Oil should be deep enough to cover fritters.
  8. Drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil and fry on both sides until golden brown.
  9. Remove cooked fritters from hot oil with a slotted spoon, place on absorbent paper towel, then dredge in a mixture of cinnamon sugar.
  10. Serve warm.
  1. Yields 12 Fritters
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Squash Recipes

After finishing a recent video on how to properly cook and use FRESH pumpkin puree for your pies, I started to get all sorts of requests for me to share more of my squash recipes, including another one for pumpkin (as you might well imagine).

Well, I happen to love squash, so over the years, I’ve created a catalog of delicious recipes for these wonderful vegetables, both the summer AND winter varieties.

But because it’s fall, I’m going to stick with the winter squash variety this time around, and I’ve got two recipes you’re going to want to try.

My first recipe is a version of Nino’s popular eggplant rollatini with a twist: spaghetti squash!

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


Serves 4

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

  1. 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.
  2. Dredge eggplant slices in flour, and then dip the beaten egg mixture into the bread crumbs. Repeat for all of the slices.
  3. 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.
  4. Set the cooked eggplant slices aside and prepare the filling.
  5. Sauté bacon until crisp and reserve the crisp bacon and grease separately.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Serve two rollatinis covered with a half cup of hot marinara sauce and 1 TBSP of grated Parmesan cheese.

Want to see me make Eggplant Rollatini? Take a look below!


My 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

  1. Heat the cream in a saucepan until barely simmering. Then remove from the heat. Do not burn.
  2. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar until creamy and light.
  3. Slowly add the hot cream into the beaten yolk mixture while whisking.
  4. Stir in the pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until the filling is just set. It will quiver like Jello®.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Serve.

Just how do I make FRESH Pumpkin Puree? Good question! Take a look!


If you’d like links to some of my past blogs with MORE squash recipes, look no further than RIGHT HERE!

Nino’s Acorn Squash Recipes
Squash Recipes for Your Fall Menu
Peter’s Pumpkin Eater Recipes for 2012

Winter Squashes

There is no doubting that winter squash is one of Michigan’s favorite fall produce vegetables, and if thought through properly, you can enjoy it for many months after harvest. Squashes, such as acorn; butternut; spaghetti; buttercup; hubbard; dumpling; pie pumpkins; and even regular, large pumpkins, are generally harvested at the very end of summer or early fall. They are then cured to further harden the skin and stored in a cool, dry place. This process will generally keep squash from spoiling for up to two months after initial harvest.

Now, if you would like to enjoy Michigan winter squashes for longer than two months, I advise you to stock up and freeze as much as possible no later than the middle of November. Typically, all Michigan squash is sold through by this time, although this may vary by a week or two either way, depending on each season’s crop. If freezing squash is something you plan on doing, I would suggest cutting or chunking it into cubes, whichever variety you desire.

Picking out Winter Squash

Selecting the perfect squash, unlike other fruits and vegetables, is not all that difficult. The common denominator with all winter squashes is firmness. Be sure that all surface areas are solid and firm. Otherwise, you might end up with mealy or very stringy squash that will not be what you want.

Another advantage of Michigan-grown winter squash is the price. If you have the room to stock up, the price will not be lower the rest of the year than it is October through November.

We have many recipes on our website to help you enjoy winter squashes the Nino’s way. Take a look at our squash guide for some of our favorites.

Nino’s Acorn Squash Recipes

Acorn Squash is one of the hard-shell “winter squashes” that are widely enjoyed, particularly in the fall and winter months.

Personally, I love Acorn Squash because it’s such a versatile vegetable, and because of that, I’m surprised it’s not used more often by chefs. In the end, its sweet-potato-like qualities put its use halfway between a starch and a vegetable, making it as suitable as an ice cream flavor as it is along side a roast.

Good Tasting and Good for You

A cup of Acorn Squash is only 56 calories, only one of which is from fat. It also has other great nutritional components, such as fiber, vitamin A, C, B-6, iron, and potassium. Its sweet, golden-orange flesh is particularly suited to dishes like soups, casseroles, stuffing, and pastries. Of course, it’s also great as a vegetable side dish.

In recipes, Acorn Squash pairs exceptionally well with bacon, brown sugar, butter, garlic, honey, maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, Parmesan cheese, pepper, and sage. It’s also an excellent plate companion with roasted chicken and pork.

The Basic Cooking Method

The most common method of cooking Acorn Squash involves cutting it in half lengthwise (through the stem) and then scooping out the seeds (like a pumpkin), buttering and seasoning the exposed flesh, and finally turning each half, cut side down, on a cookie sheet with a little water, and roasting at 375 F until tender (about 45 minutes).

From there, the squash can be turned flesh side up and finished with a glaze or scooped away from its rind-like skin and mashed, pureed, or cubed for other uses.

If you’d like to try a new recipe for Acorn Squash, below is one I particularly like that uses 2 cups of this cooked, mashed squash. It tastes surprisingly like pumpkin pie!

Say what?

Acorn Squash & Honey Pie

Makes 1 – 9” Pie
Serves 6

2 Cups Acorn Squash, Cooked, Mashed Well
4 Eggs, Extra Large
¾ Cup Evaporated Milk (or Half & Half)
¼ Cup Honey
½ Cup Brown Sugar
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Ground Ginger
Pinch Nutmeg
½ tsp Salt
1 9” Pie Shell (unbaked)

To Garnish:
Sweetened Whipped Cream
Toasted Pecans

Mix together the above ingredients until well blended, and then strain and pour into an unbaked 9” diameter pie shell (homemade or store bought).
Bake at 375 for approximately 1 hour or until the custard-like filling is firm.
Chill and serve with whipped cream and toasted pecans.

You can find other great squash recipes and information in Nino’s recipe archives. Just click on the links below, and we’ll take you there!

Nino’s Squash Guide
Squash Your Appetite
Roasting Vegetables


Squash Recipes for Your Fall Menu

During most of the summer months, soft-skinned summer squash, such as yellow squash, zucchini, and of course, cucumber find their way into recipes, and of course, onto our dinner plates.

It’s only this time of the year that winter squash really begins to take over center stage.

Fall is when winter squash, such as acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, also make their yearly migration onto our menus, or in the case of pumpkin, their yearly carving AND culinary debuts.


Of course, history books tell us that both summer and winter squash have been around since very early historic times, and they’ve always played a prominent role in our country’s earliest settlements and culinary traditions. Winter squash played a particularly valuable role in the settler’s diets because they required no refrigeration and could be kept fresh for such long periods of time. It’s no wonder that no harvest scene is complete without a bountiful supply of brightly colored gourds and squash.

Many people buy just one type of squash and make the same recipe over and over again. Nothing new…same o’, same o’…

Unfortunately for some, squash has gotten stuck in a rut. It’s a shame really because when you think about it, squash is one of the most versatile vegetables on the market. What other vegetable can you enjoy as much sautéed, in a soup or in a stew as you can in a cake or in a pie? Certainly not an onion nor a tomato.

Not a head of lettuce either.

So let’s begin with the basics. One of the best places to start is Nino’s Guide to Squash, which will give you a simple overview of the most commonly available squash at Nino’s.

And if you’d like to try a new recipe or two, this guide has five delicious recipes that will really surprise you, such as:

  • Acorn Squash Pie
  • Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns
  • Soy & Honey Glazed Butternut Squash
  • Buttercup Squash Rolls
  • Julienned Fresh Pumpkin with Bacon & Onions

I also have for you a very popular blog about zucchini entitled “Squash Your Appetite,” a pumpkin recipe blog from 2011 entitled “It All Starts With a Pumpkin,” and a blog I just released all about pumpkin, with three new recipes, entitled “Peter’s Pumpkin Eater Recipes for 2012!”.

Pick a recipe, make your grocery list and stop by Nino’s where we’ve got bushels and bins of squash to choose from and for you to enjoy.

“Squash your Appetite” with 2 New Delicious Zucchini Recipes from Nino’s

In spite of Michigan’s heat and drought, many of us have still found the time and resources to faithfully water and attend to our backyard gardens. And the fruits of our labors are beginning to pay off with, among other vegetables, zucchini, one of the most popular homegrown garden vegetables and certainly one of the most versatile.

From sauté to soup, casseroles to desserts, zucchini’s appealing taste and nutritious attributes lend themselves to recipes of nearly every culture and preparation style.

Also known by the name “Courgette” (France, Ireland and the United Kingdom), the zucchini is typically harvested at approximately 8” to 10” in length but can grow to 3 feet or longer if allowed to. Another related hybrid, the Golden Zucchini, is deep yellow or almost orange in color and has a similar taste and texture.

Unlike many foods we eat in the U.S. but like most squash, the zucchini actually has its origins in the Americas. The actual variety of squash we now call zucchini, however, was developed in Italy (some believe near Milan) many generations after its introduction back to the “Old World” from the “New World.”

In a culinary context, the zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is a fruit, just like the tomato.

Although it can be enjoyed raw like a cucumber, zucchini is usually served cooked. It has a delicate flavor and requires little more than quick cooking with butter or olive oil, but it can also be cooked using a number of other techniques, including steaming, boiling, grilling, stuffing and baking, barbecuing, deep frying, or incorporating in other recipes, such as soufflés. It can also be baked into bread or incorporated into a cake mix. Its flowers can be eaten stuffed and are a delicacy when deep-fried as tempura.

Zucchini recipes

Before I share with you a couple of new recipes, you might want to check out a few recipes that are already on Nino’s website including:

And review Nino’s Squash Guide, which gives you more information about other varieties of squash.

Now, on to my new recipes:

First up, we have a delicious soup, incorporating zucchini and fresh basil. Garnished with a dollop of sour cream and some finely julienned zucchini, carrot and yellow squash, it tastes as great as it looks.

Zucchini Basil Soup

(Makes about 2 Quarts)

2 Lbs Zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
3/4 Cup Sweet onion, chopped
2 Each Garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 Cup Olive oil
4 Cups Chicken broth (or stock)
½-Cup Fresh basil leaves
To Taste Salt & pepper
To Garnish Sour cream
To Garnish Finely julienned raw carrot, zucchini & yellow squash (approx 1 TBSP each per serving)

  1. In a soup pot, add olive oil and bring up to a medium heat.
  2. Add onion, and sweat for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not brown.
  3. Add garlic and zucchini, and sweat until glazed and slightly softened.
  4. Add chicken broth, and bring soup to a gentle simmer.
  5. After 10 minutes, add basil and continue to cook until zucchini is tender (approximately 30 minutes). Do not cover.
  6. Allow to cool until mixture can be placed in a blender (30 to 45 minutes).
  7. Blend soup until smooth. Strain if desired, and then return soup to the original soup pot and reheat.
  8. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve in shallow soup bowls with a garnish of sour cream and a julienne of zucchini, carrot and yellow squash.

The next recipe is a classic “Quick Bread” using zucchini as a key ingredient. It’s a delicious breakfast treat or goes exceptionally well with any cream cheese frosting you buy or make from scratch.

Zucchini Carrot Bread

(Makes 1 – 9” Loaf)

3 Cups All-purpose flour
1 TBSP Baking soda
½ Tsp Ground cinnamon
1 ¼ Cups Granulated sugar
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Cup Poppy seeds
4 Each Egg, extra large, beaten
1 Cups Vegetable oil
2 Tsp Vanilla extract
1 ½ Cups Carrot grated
1 ½ Cups Zucchini grated
¾ Cups Dried currants (or raisins)


  1. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir in the poppy seeds.
  2. Combine the eggs, oil and vanilla, add to the above mixture and stir in until smooth.
  3. Squeeze out the moisture from the grated carrots and zucchini, and stir, with the currants, into the mixture.
  4. Turn batter into a greased and floured 9” loaf pan, and bake approximately 45 minutes at 350 F or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven, and turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Wrap tightly in plastic film and store refrigerated until served.

I hope you’ll enjoy these recipes — let me know how you liked them.

Until then, keep the watering hose at the ready and enjoy the bounty of Michigan’s backyard harvest.