Squash cream

• Ingredients: 200 g chopped squash; 100 g. chopped carrots; 200 ml single cream; 1⁄2 chopped celery leaf; 80 g. chopped brocoli; 1 pinch of salt; 1 sprig of parsley; 50 g. grated mozzarella cheese; 80 g. thickly chopped onion.

• Preparation: Put the squash, brocoli, celery, carrots and onion in a pan with boiling water: Cook until ready. Drain and put in a food processor with some of the cooking liquid. Add salt to taste and the cream. Process until the mixture is really smooth. Gently heat the mixture in a pan until some of the liquid has evaporated. When ready, sprinkle with grated mozzarella before serving.

Sautéed quinoa and vegetable stuffed squash

• Ingredients: 1.5 kg squash; 250 g. boiled quinoa; 1 onion; 100 g. Swiss chard; 100 g. spinach; 50 g. peeled walnuts; fresh tyme; olive oil; salt.

• Preparation: Gently fry the finely chopped onion in a little oil. Add the washed and thickly cut Swiss chard and spinach and cook slowly for a few minutes. Add the nuts, salt and herbs, stir thoroughly and remove from the heat. Mix with the cooked quinoa. Slice the top off the squash, remove the seeds and fibrous pulp. Fill the cavity with the mixture, cover with the top slice of the squash and bake in a moderate oven (180oC) for some 45 minutes or until the squash is soft. Serve in the squash as a soup tureen.

Cream of squash soup with bacon

• Ingredients: 500 g. squash; 1 garlic clove; 1⁄2 onion, chopped; 4 bacon rashers, chopped; 1 tbsp cornflour; 2 cups milk; 1⁄2 tsp stock; cheese to taste.

• Preparation: Boil the squash with salt and the garlic. Fry the bacon and then the onion in the bacon fat. Add the milk and one cup of the squash cooking water. Blend the lot in a food processor. If the mixture is too liquid, add the cornflour previously disolved in a little water. Bring to the boil and serve, adding the bacon and some cheese to taste.

Sirloin steak with squash mash

• Ingredients: 2 pork sirloin pieces – 500 g. squash – 150 g. single cream – 150 g. milk – 5 or 6 garlic cloves – 1 onion – 50 ml. brandy – black pepper– cumin comino – ground ginger – thyme – 2 tbsp squash seeds– olive oil and salt.

• Preparation: Peel and cut the squash, peel and chop the onion and three garlic cloves. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the squash, add salt to taste and after about 8 minutes add the onion, stir fry for a further few minutes and add the garlic, freshly ground black pepper, cumin and ground ginger, stirring from time to time. When all ingredients have softened, add the single cream and milk and salt to taste, mix well and cook until reduced. Sprinkle salt and thyme over the sirloin steaks. Fry the remaining crushed garlic cloves in a large frying pan, then take them out and add them to the squash mixture. Quickly fry the sirloin pieces in the garlic oil till golden, then lower the fire till they are cooked through. After about 15 to 20 minutes pour the brandy and reduce. Mash the squash mixture till you obtain a creamy texture, slice the sirloin pie- ces and serve them on a large spoonful of squash mash. Sprinkle some squash seeds on top and cover with the meat juices.

Squash and potato curry

• Ingredients: (serves 4), 500 g. peeled and diced squash; 2 large potatoes; 1 onion; 3 garlic cloves; 1 tbsp butter; 2 cardamom pods; 4 cloves; 1 tsp turmeric, 1 chili pepper; 1 bar of cinnamon; 1 tsp sugar; salt to taste.

• Preparation: Peel and dice the squash and potatoes; peel and finely chop the onion and garlic cloves. Toss the potato dice with chopped onion and garlic in the butter until the onion is soft and not quite golden, then add the remaining ingredients having previously crushed the cardamom pods with the side of a knife. Stir and add a glass of water, just enough to cover the ingredients halfway up. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked but not too soft. I like to serve it with boiled basmati rice for a more complete dish. I usually buy spices at a nearby Indian shop but if that is not available where you live you may use curry powder available at most supermarkets.

Polenta tapenade

• Polenta ingredients: 100 g. precooked polenta – 500 ml. water – 40 g. tapenade and salt to taste (in moderation as tapenade is already salted).

• Squash ingredients: 4 squash slices – 1 garlic clove – 2 tsp provençal herbs – 1 tsp tandoori masala – 1/2 tsp ground ginger – 1/2 tsp ground mustard – 1/2 tsp ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp ground cumin – 1 dried chilli – olive oil.

• Preparation: for the polenta, boil the water in a pan and sprinkle the polenta when it sarts boiling, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and withdraw from the fire when the contents start separating from the walls of the saucepan. Add the tapenade and mix well. Pour the polenta into a tray to obtain a 1-cm layer. Cool and store in the fridge. Mix all the spices with the chopped garlic, ground chilli and enough olive oil to cover the squash later. Halve the squash slices and peel them, then coat them in olive oil and salt. Stick them in the pre-heated oven at 180o for about half an hour, depending on the thickness. Add the spices about halfway through the cooking. Remove when it starts going brown.