I may have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with butternut squash. As soon as it hits the grocery store, I’m burrowing through recipes, writing down the weight of the squashes I’ll need in my upcoming cooking marathons, and re-inventing the stuff as much as I can.
Sadly, though, there are very few recipes for the stuff that don’t involve roasting. Not that I’m complaining – roasting is one of my favorite methods because it’s totally fuss-free and extremely adaptable – but sometimes I just want some texture with my squash!
Then the folks at Cafe Cacao (the erstwhile Scharffen Berger restaurant, now sadly defunct) came to the rescue: their first executive chef whipped up this recipe, which is just beyond flippin’ perfect. The nibs add not only just a bit of crunch, they also toss in a subtle chocolate flavor. Not a huge fan of unsweetened chocolate? Never fear, the squash provides that sweetness! This recipe is genius. Pure genius.
Can you see why I wanted to have the wedding rehearsal dinner there?
Skeptical about chocolate and squash? I’d like to clarify and say that Scharffen Berger nibs and Hersey’s have about as much in common as apples and baseball bats. Hersey’s (and other mass-marketed chocolate) are all about the sweet, sweet, sweet. There is not much chocolate to speak of. On the other hand, the nibs have a very warm, complex, nutty, fruity, vanilla-y, and above all, pure chocolate-y flavor. So throw caution to the wind and give this recipe a shot while the squash is still in season.
Roasted squash with cacao nib vinaigrette
Adapted from The Essence of Chocolate