If you're like me, you have no idea what delicata squash is. But we ended up with a couple of random squash from the CSA and had to figure out first what it was and then how to cook it. So I handed a squash to Alex and told him to start Googling. A few minutes and one Wikipedia entry on squash varieties later, Alex told me that the squash we had been given was a sweet potato squash aka delicata squash. And just for the record, there are way more varieties of squash out there than I realized! I mean, who has ever heard of turban squash? Anyway, we decided to simply roast the delicata squash as if it were a butternut squash with maple syrup, butter, and brown sugar. As with roasting butternut squash, you end up with an amazingly flavorful layer of squash, with a bland layer down below that never came into contact with the maple syrup mixture. Alex called it the "Tale of Two Squashes." Yes, my husband is a dork. But that's ok, because so am I. It takes one to know one I guess. Back to the squash. Those bites you get where the sugar and syrup formed a nice caramelized crust on the squash are simply amazing. I highly recommend using just a pinch of cayenne pepper on the squash because I think it really makes the flavors come together. Otherwise you would just end up with a really sweet squash dish, without any complexity to it.
To go with the squash we decided to cook up the spinach that also came from our CSA. We have a recipe for Spinach Catalan-Style from Spain: A Culinary Road Trip by Mario Batali that I really enjoy because it is tasty, easy, and best of all, it comes together in minutes. I really enjoy the combination of the buttery pine nuts, the sweet currants, and the fresh sauteed spinach. The first time I made the recipe I was a little skeptical that it didn't contain garlic or onions. I quickly realized that it didn't need either. This is probably one of the quickest and easiest side dishes in our repertoire.
Recipe after the jump!