Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Get the scoop on squash

If you've ever prepared a squash for cooking or baking, you know that removing the pulpy insides is a sticky job.

Recipes say to "scoop out" the insides. Sounds easy, doesn't it?

First, try a spoon, and find that the edge is not sharp enough for the dense squash skin. Next, try a knife, only to find this is impossible because it doesn't follow the inside curves very well. What about a cookie scoop? Still not sharp enough. Now what?

Last night, I finally found my answer.

I used the melon baller end of this handy tool, and had the insides pf the entire squash cleanly scooped out in about 2 minutes.

The magic combination is the thin, rounded, and sharp edge of this melon baller combined with the hole in the back, which allowed the scooped squash to slide through as I went along. The tool is called the Core & More, and it's from The Pampered Chef.

This is one of those tools that I have found numerous uses for, beyond melons and strawberries, such as removing core bits from apple slices and taking out potato eyes. As far as I am concerned, this is a kitchen essential.

By the way, here is what I made for dinner -
Roasted Tomato & Butternut Squash Pasta

It's the only way I've found so far that my kids will eat squash. The secret is roasting the squash, which mellows the flavor and brings out its natural sweetness. I made it easier with canned fire roasted tomatoes, and healthier with olive oil instead of butter, whole wheat pasta instead of white.

Bonus - it's a vegetarian entree if you are doing one meatless meal a week.

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