That’s what we call butternut squash in the Philippines. I never had a strong liking for it, prodding away the squash chunks from my soup bowl in beef nilaga, opting for the starchier potato. I would pick the green beans coated with the least amount of kalabasa in a local dish called ginataang sitaw at kalabasa (green beans and squash in coconut milk). I only liked to eat kalabasa in two things: 1) a dessert called biko, a sweet, sticky concoction made with glutinous rice, and 2) pureed in soup.
How things change.
After more than seven years of living in New England where, come fall, everyone seems obsessed with all things pumpkin and butternut and acorn and all things squash, I have now learned to appreciate butternut squash in more than two preparations. Now I myself can’t get enough of it, roasting it with cinnamon and brown sugar, making vegetarian chili, adding it in mac and cheese. My most recent butternut squash kitchen creation were these Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Turnovers:
I started making these turnovers at 10 p.m. for the next day’s potluck, thinking it would only take me 30 minutes or so, but all the cooking, mashing, cutting, filling, sealing, and crimping took longer than expected, so I did everything except bake them then just stored them in the fridge overnight covered in plastic wrap. The next morning I brushed the turnovers with an egg wash and they baked beautifully. Ideally I would’ve served these warm, but I brought this batch to my company’s lunch potluck and by then they were a little cold. Although at room temperature, they were still a big hit among my co-workers!
Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Turnovers
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
2 tablespoons chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz goat cheese
4 sheets frozen puff pastry sheets (I used Pillsbury, and it had 2 sheets per box so I used two boxes)
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Cook the butternut squash by either roasting, steaming, or microwaving. I used the microwave, nuking the butternut squash with a little water in a deep bowl covered by plastic wrap for about 12 minutes. Once it is tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork, mash it and add your spices: cayenne, salt, pepper and the chopped sage.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out your puff pastry then cut into 3-inch squares. Each of my pastry sheets yielded 9 squares, so I ended up with 36 turnovers.
Scoop out about a tablespoon of the squash filling onto each square, then top with a few crumbles of goat cheese. Fold the squares over to form triangles and crimp the edges decoratively with a fork. (If you are preparing these in advance, you can keep the pastries overnight in the fridge, tightly covered in plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.)
Arrange the turnovers baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and use a pastry brush to brush the tops and sides of the turnovers. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Do you have a favorite kalabasa recipe?