Cream Soda Butternut Squash
(6 to 8 servings)
THE Washington Post recently challenged D.C.-area chef Bryan Voltaggio -- the first chef to compete on both Bravo's Top Chef and Top Chef Masters shows -- to come up with recipes that feature at least two superfoods. Superfoods at play in this recipe include the squash (which he's reading as pumpkin), pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, garlic and cinnamon.
Voltaggio's technique for making brown butter differs from the standard in that he incorporates the milk solids back into the melted butter.
60 ml (4 tbsp) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
5 ml (1 tsp) fine sea salt, plus a pinch
23/4 kg (6 lb) whole butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (may substitute about 1.5 L (6 cups) frozen/defrosted cubed butternut squash)
355 ml (12 oz) cream soda (do not use diet)
125 ml (1/2 cup) raw hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted*
Ground cayenne pepper
Pumpkin seed oil, for garnish
Fill a large pot halfway with cool water.
Combine the butter and the pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until just browned, whisking constantly to evenly disperse the milk solids. Immediately transfer to the pot of cool water; seat the bottom of the saucepan in the water to stop the browned butter from cooking further.
Transfer the browned butter to a large sauté pan, over medium heat. Add the squash and stir to coat. Once the butter is melted to translucence, add the cream soda, stirring to dislodge any browned bits and deglaze the pan. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 25 to 35 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender.
Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F). Have a large rimmed baking sheet at hand.
Use a slotted spatula to transfer the squash to the baking sheet, spreading it in a single layer to cool. Pour the cooking juices/browned butter from the sauté pan into a blender; add the remaining teaspoon of salt and puree on high for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour evenly over the squash. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until glazed and thoroughly warmed through.
Season lightly with pepper. Transfer to a serving dish; drizzle with pumpkin seed oil and sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds.
* Spread the pumpkin seeds in medium, dry skillet. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne and cinnamon. Toast over medium heat until they begin to pop and become fragrant and lightly browned. Cool before using.
Nutrition per serving: 170 calories, 3 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fibre, 9 g sugar
-- The Washington Post