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It’s winter time again, folks. And while some might be bemoaning the loss of all of the summers’ vegetable crops, my family is going crazy over the wealth of fresh picked winter squash and sweet potatoes available at our local Walmart.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of butternut squash, acorn squash ad sweet potatoes that are at the height of season just makes us happy. These are the flavors of late fall and early winter. Deep, rich and incredibly satisfying.
Also, this recipe just happens to be completely, 100% gluten free and vegetarian friendly. Not common around Uncle Jerry’s Kitchen, I know. But this simply doesn’t need anything other than what’s in it.
Be warned. This recipe takes quite a bit of time to make. It’s best suited for a cozy weekend. But it is oh-so-worth every single minute! And for the most part, it can be left unattended while you spend some quality time with the people you love.
So what goes into a winter squash marinara?
Of course you’re going to want to get your hands on some seasonal winter squash. My first stop was the produce aisle at my local Walmart. They had some gorgeous butternut and acorn squash available. Also, the sweet potatoes looked good, so I nabbed a few of those, too.
Next, for some marinara sauce. The options here are daunting to say the least.
We’re not a big fan of overly fancy packaging, or anything with a slew of ingredients we can’t understand. Enter Prego Farmers’ Market® classic marinara. The ingredient list is something I can relate to. Vine-ripened tomatoes, Olive oil, onions, garlic, cane sugar and spices. Yup. that’s the stuff I’d make myself… If I wasn’t going to be roasting squash for an hour already.
Grab a few more bits, like a wedge of nice Parmesan and some fresh basil leaves, and we’re off.
First off, roast your squash and sweet potatoes. (400 degrees for an hour, roughly.) then peel and dice. I’ll post a tutorial for the method I used in the next few days, but this post is long enough as it is, is just get those veggies cooked!
Cook an onion and some garlic in olive oil over a pretty low heat until you have some color, but not too much.
Then mix the veggies, the onions and garlic, and a few leaves of chopped fresh basil together in a casserole dish.
Top that off with a jar of Prego Farmers’ Market® marinara and about a half-cup of Parmesan cheese.
Pop the whole thing in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and everything is all bubbly. (Also, be amazed by how insanely good this smells while it’s cooking.)
Dish it up!
These are the same ingredients I’d grab at my local farmer’s market. Picked at the peak of freshness and absolutely bursting with flavor.
Not to mention the gorgeous melty-cheese thing. C’mon. You gotta love that!
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 large acorn squash
- 3 small sweet potatoes (or 1 very large sweet potato)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 or 6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- 1 jar (23.5 ounces) Prego Farmers' Market® Classic Marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup grated or shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut butternut and acorn squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and strings. Place face down on baking sheets.
- Rinse sweet potatoes and pat dry, Pierce skins with a fork and place on baking sheet with the butternut squash.
- Bake squash and sweet potatoes together at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Remove flesh from squash and peel sweet potatoes. Cut all into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Simmer onions and garlic in olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat until jut fragrant and slightly translucent.. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large casserole dish, gently mix squash, sweet potatoes, onion mixture and basil. pour Marinara sauce evenly over the top, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
- Share and enjoy!
What I would have done differently
This is the point I’d normally tell you what I want to correct, or how I could make a recipe better. I can’t.
This winter squash marinara is possibly the best thing I’ve eaten all year. It’s simple, wholesome and filling. Even the picky eater gobbled it up. To be trite. It’s perfect just the way it is.
Go grab a coupon for some of this marinara and give it a try. Seriously, It’s amazing.
And if you want to learn more. We have a visual aid!