Roasted squash is so been-there-done-that. Not that it isn’t delicious. But how many times can you get excited by tossing butternut chunks in oil and seasonings, then roasting?
Still, Thanksgiving is about tradition, so we didn’t want to go too far astray from that. Instead, we looked at two ways to jazz up your otherwise basic roasted squash — by giving it a partner and by giving it a dressing.
Let’s start with the former. Potatoes would be out of place, particularly because they usually show up mashed, too. Plus, we didn’t want something so starchy. Beets were the answer. They have a wonderful, gentle sweetness that plays really well with the natural sweetness of the squash.
For the dressing, we went with garlic. Garlic can be a difficult flavor at the Thanksgiving table. The danger is that it can overpower the other flavors and dishes. So we mellow it with a long, slow simmer in heavy cream, then we puree it. The result is a savory, rich sauce to drizzle over your roasted vegetables.
Nothing been-there about this Thanksgiving side.
ROASTED SQUASH AND BEETS WITH CREAMED GARLIC
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes. Servings: 8.
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
4 large beets, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
¾ cup heavy cream
2 heads garlic (or 24 cloves), peeled
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Heat the oven to 400 F.
Spread the squash and beets on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, or until tender and browned, stirring every so often.
Meanwhile, make the creamed garlic. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and the garlic. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to just below a simmer. There should be just occasional bubbles in the cream. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the garlic is very tender. Mash the garlic with a fork in the cream, or transfer everything to a blender and puree until smooth. Stir in the thyme and season with salt and black pepper.
Serve the roasted squash and beets drizzled with the garlic cream.
Nutrition information per serving: 180 calories; 110 calories from fat (61 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 3 g protein; 190 mg sodium.