We’ve had to say goodbye to summer (although the weather has been wonderful! We finally got a lengthy warm September!) – but now we’re saying hello to fall and the grocery store is full of Ontario produce goodness. Amongst one of my favourites is the butternut squash. It is sweet, hearty, and maintains good texture when cooked. It’s packed with Vitamin A, beta-carotenes, and other amazing nutrients. A classic spaghetti sauce would have celery, onion, garlic and carrots as the base – I find replacing the carrot with butternut squash gives it a slightly sweeter taste (great for the kids!). This recipe tastes fantastic on it’s own and is hearty like a stew, or you can serve it up with some pasta (spaghetti, penne, etc) and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
prep: 20 min cook: 1 hour yield: serves 4-6
what you need:
- ~450 g lean ground beef
- 1 small butternut squash
- 3 ribs of celery
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 gloves of garlic
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 700 g tomato sauce or tomato pure or diced tomatoes (I like to buy the ones in the tall glass jars)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes *optional
- 2 dried bay leaves
- cooking oil (I used grape seed oil)
what to do:
- Prep your vegetables by thoroughly washing and then peeling them. Remove onion peel and dice into small pieces. Peel butternut squash, remove seeds, and dice into small chunks. Dice celery as well – you want your veggies diced about the same size.
- Roughly chop garlic after removing peel.
- In a large pot add about 1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil on medium – high heat. Add diced vegetables & garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning but you want some even browning to occur.
- Add ground beef and break it up with a wooden spoon roughly. Sauté for another few minutes, until beef doesn’t look very pink anymore.
- Add chilli flakes and oregano, salt and pepper. Continue to sauté, stirring for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomato puree and bay leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil then turn it down to simmer with the lid on for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the squash is tender it is ready! It actually tastes better though as it sits with some time – so if you have made it head, leave the lid on and just allow the flavours to marry until you are ready to serve. I love storing it in small portions in mason jars for a quick ready meal for the boss (my baby who turned 1 recently!).