Cooking with winter squash

Risotto a la Zucca

lol-dacorradoristorante-17-editCorrado Corrias enjoys creating flavorful pumpkin-inspired dishes at his restaurant, Da Corrado Ristorante, on Lake Oconee Parkway. He says the Marina Di Chioggia variety is a favorite for Italian cooking.

“These particular pumpkins have a lot of flavor and are easy to work with because they are soft and already naturally sweet,” he says. The Marina works well in Minestrone soup, ravioli, gnocchi, or simply roasted and served as a side.

Here, Corrias shares an easy recipe for Risotto a la Zucca. He recommends using Carnaroli grains that absorb liquid better and have a creamy consistency while remaining firm.

He finishes the dish in large Parmesan wheel that was aged 24 months, a favorite technique he uses at the restaurant.


1 to 1 ½ lb. pumpkin meat, cleaned and diced

3 cloves garlic

1 TBS olive oil

2 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups white wine

3 cups chicken broth

3 cups rice (Carnaroli preferred)

1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

1 cup grated Parmesan


Saute pumpkin and garlic in olive oil, add salt and white wine, when needed. Cook until pumpkin is semi-soft. Adlol-dacorradoristorante-62-editd mushrooms and rice. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring constantly and adding chicken broth and more wine until liquid is absorbed. Rice should be softened but remain al dente. Remove from heat, add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Makes 4 servings.


Roasted Banana Squash Soup

Wes and Leslie Ryals recommend this recipe for squash soup, compiled by The Sisters Café. “We don’t puree, but leave the squash as a potato-soup-like consistency,” says Wes.

Banana Squash (Pike’s Peak or Sibley)
Olive oil
3 cups of water
4 cubes of chicken bouillon
1/2 cup cream
dash of nutmeg

Remove seeds and rind from squash. Cut squash into large chunks and place in a single layer in a 8×8 baking dish so that sides of squash are touching. Brush with olive oil. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour, until golden brown. The squash should be soft when inserted with a fork. Blend one or two pieces of squash at a time with the bouillon and water until all of the squash has been pureed. Add cream and warm through on the stove. Salt to taste. Garnish with a dash of nutmeg.


Winter Luxury Pie

Ryals says the velvety consistency and lack of fibers make “Winter Luxury Pie” squash the best variety for making desserts and baked goods. He follows Amy Goldman’s advice from her book, “The Compleat Squash.”

  1. Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin should be baked whole, pierced for a few tiny vent holes, stem trimmed, at 350 degrees until it “slumps” and softens after an hour or so.
  2. Carefully remove the lid. Seeds and strings come out easily. Scoop the flesh with a large spoon.
  3. Puree the flesh in a blender, adding liquid if needed. A five-pound pumpkin yields approximately 2 ½ pounds or four cups of pulp, enough for two pies.


Pumpkin Bread

A classic favorite from

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

2 cups of fresh cooked pumpkin

1/2 cup water

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1/2 cup raisins (also optional)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and sugar. Add the eggs, water, oil and pumpkin. Stir until blended. Add raisins and/or nuts. Mix well, either by hand or with a mixer. Pour into two lightly greased and floured 9×5″ loaf pans. Or, use muffin pans if you want muffins instead of loaves. Bake approximately one hour at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before transferring loaves to a rack. Pumpkin bread tastes better if you wrap it in plastic wrap, refrigerate it and wait until the following day to eat it. It keeps well in the refrigerator and can be frozen.



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