Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quinoa "Pie" with Delicata

I am not sure if I have eaten delicata squash before, but I recognize the name from recipes and menus, and I've purchased it many times as a decoration for my fall table. What I hadn't done was place the name with the skin, or recognize that the name delicata is actually a referencer to how delectably delicious it is!!

As part of my research-phase of the Pumpkin Party, I came across this recipe for Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash. It sounded delicious and while it wasn't the right thing for my party menu, I knew I wanted to try it soon. However, also knowing what a struggle butternuts can be to prepare, I decided I'd sub-in a different type of squash. At the market, this lovely white-and-green-striped papaya-sized oblong had a sticker which read: "firm white meat, very sweet." Not sure where the "white meat" came from, as this was as orange as any acorn or butternut squash, but it was spot-on with respect to the sweet part.

It was a good thing, too, because the recipe in general was not spot-on. But I can forgive all the wasted time of dirtying an extra pan, and serving dinner 30 minutes late while waiting for the "pie" to bake, and the crunchy, dried-out quinoa grains that would have been perfectly tender without the baking step, all because of this delightful discovery of delicata.

Also true is that I entered into this recipe foray with a bit of trepediation, being as I frequently find issue with recipes from Martha Stewart. I said at the outset of this blog that it wouldn't be a place for any bashing, but in all fairness, I think it's simply good advice to "proceed with caution" when approaching any Marthaism.

My takeaways are:
- roasting delicata (cut into rounds, wedges, or however you want) with a light swipe of olive oil at 375 for 20 minutes is a great idea.
- pairing roasted squash with some fresh sage and quinoa cooked in broth and garlic and garnished with some parmesan makes for for a great side dish, or with salad and steamed broccoli a well-balanced and satisfying vegetarian entree.
- sauteed onions in your quinoa don't add much against the flavor and soft texture of the squash.
- baking this all into a pie is a complete waste of time and while it unmolded into an attractive dish, it didn't slice into wedges and simply crumbled into a spoon-able heap when serving. Plus, the extra baking dried out some of the quinoa giving it a distinctly unpleasant crunchiness.

My finished pie was still tasty, in spite of my reservations. I used red quinoa and delicata squash.

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