Monday, January 28, 2008

Delicata Squash With Sautéed Greens, Pancetta And Honey Tangerine

When you've been driving all day, some of it under rather harrowing conditions, this is the perfect quick-to-fix meal to warm you up and calm you down when you arrive home. A glass of red wine helps. Of course I'm talking about me...

The first part of my 6-hour journey home yesterday was easy - a little rain, a little wind - then it began to snow. Big fat fluffy flakes falling slowly at first, just enough to marvel at, then falling faster and faster until before I knew it I was queued up behind a number of cars being led through the snowy whiteness by a highway patrol car, the road becoming too trecherous to allow for the errant fast driver yet not icy enough to require chains. All of this occurred on the 101 within 50 miles of my home - a very rare occurrence for my neck of the woods as I live on the northern California coast in a maritime temperate climate zone. Not used to driving through snow, especially without chains, you can imagine my relief at arriving home safe and sound, if a bit hungry.
Honey tangerines (also called Murcott oranges) are in markets right now and their sunny goodness is a welcome ingredient to the winter palate. Wonderful in vinaigrettes and simple sautés, honey tangerine juice will also brighten roasted meats and bring elegance to winter desserts. Last night it rounded out all the ingredients of this sauté and made them shine.

Delicata squash with Sautéed Greens, Pancetta and Honey Tangerine
Christine's original recipe
1 medium delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups mixture of winter greens, torn (see Cook's Notes)
1 and 1/2 ounces pancetta, cut into small squares
3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup honey tangerine juice, squeezed and strained from 1 tangerine
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
olive oil spray for the pan

Spray a heavy skillet with olive oil spray and set over medium high heat.
Add the pancetta to the hot pan and cook, stirring to break up the pieces, until crisp and browned. Remove to a plate.
Spray the same pan again and lower the heat to medium.
Add the cubes of squash and sauté until it softens and begins to brown.
Add the minced garlic and stir until the garlic has become softened and aromatic.
Toss in the torn greens. This is usually a mixture of winter greens: Chard in its many colors plus several kinds of kale, mustard greens and beet tops.
Stir everything together gently and allow the greens to wilt. A bit of additional olive oil may be needed to keep the squash from sticking to the pan.
Pour the honey tangerine juice over everything and stir well to combine.
When the greens are cooked to your liking, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Serve on warmed plates and sprinkle with the crispy pancetta.

Cook's Notes:
For this dish I tore the greens into smaller pieces so as not to overpower the small cubes of squash nor lose the pieces of pancetta among them.

Plus A Small Rant:
(Not too long ago, last week I believe, I came across a complaint on the Internet about long, descriptive recipe titles on food blog posts. I don't take this personally as I'm sure the person who wrote it doesn't know my blog exists, but it still prompts me share this small rant. I'm only sorry that I didn't bookmark where I read the complaint as I would have loved to share it with you.)
I know that I'm given to long recipe titles and obviously am among quite a group of others who do the same. And I guess that this drives at least one food blogger critic a bit nuts. Personally, besides liking to be more descriptive than less, I also like it that people searching the Web for recipes are more apt to land on one of my recipes if I use said descriptive titles. And, duh, that's what we want, isn't it? So get over yourself. These are blogs for crying out loud.

Copyright © 2005-2008, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Love the rant. Duh!

    We're having snow here today for about the 100th time. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but quite seriously, this is at least the 15th storm, and 7 more storms predicted within two weeks. I know it can be pretty awful when you're not used to driving in it (or even when you are!) Personally if it never snows again in the history of the world, that would be okay with me!

    I don't think I've had delicata squash and I've been wanting to taste it for the longest time. Sounds wonderful.

    Glad you made it home safely!

  2. I will try this. All of a sudden, putting things in order in my office yesterday sounded appealing.
    Where do you buy pancetta, at Roy's?

  3. Thank you Kalyn. Delicata is just that, delicate - In taste, in texture and in stature. I know you will love it.

    Simona, Good for you about your office! I wish my office was in order. I'm trying, but somehow I allow other things to take priority.
    I get the pancetta at the Arcata Co-op. Go through the door to the right of the shopping carts. It's right there in the refrigerated case next to the flowers.
    See you soon.

  4. Recipe looks fantastic. The snow looks a bit hairy for driving in, glad you made it back safely.

  5. Oh, that's scary weather! It's OK when you live in an area where you're prepared for that. I just hope it doesn't harm the precious blackberry bushes!!!! And I'm glad you had such a nice dish of food to sustain you!

  6. I try my best to make my recipe titles as short as possible, but sometimes you just can't!!! That dish looks wonderful though!

  7. So many textures and flavours happening in that dish, it is bound to make one's mouth happy :)

  8. Me too Anne. Thanks!

    Sher, Blackberries are all okay. Nothing, NOTHING, destroys them!

    Thanks for stopping by. Your blog photos are heart-stopping in their beauty. Take a look folks!

    Thank you Cynthia. Simplicity that brings out natural flavors are what I like best.

  9. on ranting~ well said! I agree with you........some people are never satisfied or happy.....What a frightfull drive home, oh my gosh-my nerves would have demanded a full bottle of red wine~the weather has been so strange all over this winter.Your meal was perfect for the occassion-love anything with pancetta!

  10. Thank you for your always delightful comments, Jann. How's the new store going?


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