Winter Squash Caponata

Chef Jim Dixon, the cook behind http://realgoodfood.com/

Using winter squash instead of eggplant for this Sicilian classic wasn't my idea, but it's a really good one. I've written before about my preference for the big, pumpkin-y Cucurbit varieties (like North Georgia Candy Roaster, Silver Bell, Sweet Meat, Sweet Mama, and Winter Sweet), and since they provide a lot of squash to eat, I'm always looking for another way to use them. But you can make this with any SIMPLE winter squash. You'll want about 3 cups of cut up squash.

Cut the squash into roughly 3/4 inch chunks (and always save the seeds; roast with olive oil and salt). Toss it into a skillet slicked with extra virgin olive oil and cook over medium heat. Toss in a chopped red onion, a couple of celery stalks, 2-3 cloves of garlic, a good handful of chopped green olives, and a couple of tablespoons of capers. Add a good pinch of salt, too.

When the squash is tender (maybe 15 minutes), add a splash (2 tablespoons or so) of red wine vinegar, a healthy squirt of cane syrup (or a couple of tablespoons of sugar or honey), and about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Cook for another 5 minutes to let the flavors blend, then sprinkle with a few pinches of oregano. Drizzle with more extra virgin on the plate.

You can eat this warm as vegetable side, but I like it best at room temperature with good bread. 

In December through March, Winter Sweet would be an excellent squash for this dish.  

In December through March, Winter Sweet would be an excellent squash for this dish.