Winter squash, apples, and pears arrive earlier than you might guess. Summer apples, or transparents, begin in July, and the first winter squash are often here by August. However, we scarcely notice them until the fall weather has cooled everything down enough to make them seem appealing. It’s then that we might remember that squash and apples make a comfortable pairing, especially with a robust herb like rosemary, which unifies the sweet and savory notes of both parties.
Apple and pear ciders from the market are likely to be excellent, for fruit growers take great pride in making their own cider blends.
Butternut and Delicata squash will be the easiest varieties to use for this dish because they’re so easy to peel.
You can also make this dish using sweet potatoes, the starchy Japanese
varieties, or the sweeter, moister jewel and garnet types.
2 pounds Delicata or butternut squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
2 cups fresh unfiltered apple or pear cider
salt and freshly ground pepper
apple-balsamic or organic apple cider vinegar, to taste
Peel the squash, then dice it into ½-inch cubes or even smaller pieces. If using Delicata, remove the seeds with a long spoon, then slice it into rounds.
Melt the butter in a wide skillet and add the rosemary. Cook over medium heat to flavor the butter. After 3 minutes, add the squash and cider plus water to cover. Bring to a boil, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and simmer until the squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes, by which time the juice will have reduced enough to provide a glaze for the squash. If not, raise the heat to reduce it quickly. Sprinkle on a teaspoon of vinegar and taste for salt. Add additional vinegar if you need to balance the sweetness, then season with pepper.