Eat This

Squash: Why You Should Love It, and Where You Can Get It

Butternut squash risotto at Knife
Butternut squash risotto at Knife SMPR
It's pumpkin season, that time of year when food fans take to the internet to debate the old existential questions. What exactly is a pumpkin? Is that stuff that comes in a can really pumpkin, or is it some other kind of squash?

Frankly, if you stick it in a pie and add whipped cream, who cares what it's called? We. Will. Eat. It. But there are, in fact, other varieties of squash in season this time of year, and Dallas chefs are busy whipping up new recipes that aren't necessarily pie-shaped.

You’ll find butternut at many places, and there are other types, too, offering a more savory way of getting into the fall months through flavor. Don’t lose me here. As Dino Santonicola of Partenope Ristorante says, this is the “tomato of winter;” in fact, he's making a caprese with it.

“It has a lot of flavor, and it has a multi use … it’s not very expensive, and you find it pretty much everywhere,” he says. “It’s complementary with the burrata and has everybody loving it … with balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper, it’s a great element.”

At Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, they’re roasting it before making it a puree or dicing and stir-frying it.

“When squashes start to appear at markets, you know fall has arrived or is right around the corner. I particularly love fall squashes because of how versatile they are,” says Jacob Williamson, executive chef of Five Sixty. “They encompass everything from pumpkins and zucchini, to courgettes and marrows. Additionally, the seeds can be toasted and candied and used as a garnish, or a snack — or can even be pressed for their oil.”

John Tesar has a nice squash risotto at both Knife locations now, too.

“I love the lush, rich, creamy texture and the earthy sweetness of squash,” he says.

click to enlarge Fiori di zucca at 400 Gradi - KATHY TRAN
Fiori di zucca at 400 Gradi
Kathy Tran
If you want to cook with squash, go for it. If you’d rather have the experts’ takes, here are some places in town highlighting the ingredient:

400 Gradi

Fiori di zucca with squash blossom and wild cod mantecato ($11)

Tortellini filled with pumpkin squash ($23)

2000 Ross Ave., Suite 140 (downtown).

click to enlarge Butternut squash and roasted corn soup duo at Flora Street - STEPHAN PYLES FLORA STREET CAFE
Butternut squash and roasted corn soup duo at Flora Street
Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe

Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe

Soup duo with butternut squash and roasted corn soups with apple-bacon chutney ($14).

2330 Flora St., Suite 150 (Dallas Arts District).

Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck

Pan-seared diver scallops with kabocha squash puree, forbidden black rice, spiced pepitas, cardamom crème fraiche, Profound Microfarms greens ($37)

300 Reunion Blvd. E in Reunion Tower (downtown).

Il Bracco

Burrata salad topped with carmelized delicata squash, Marcona almonds, white balsamic and breadcrumbs ($16)

8416 Preston Center Plaza (North Dallas).

Jalisco Norte

Tamal de Elote: corn tamale, skili p’ak sauce, goat cheese foam, butternut squash puree ($7)

3858 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 470 (Oak Lawn).


Butternut squash risotto with black trumpet mushrooms, sage and roasted squash; all ingredients are finished in a brown butter, and the risotto is finished with a puree ($22)

5300 E. Mockingbird Lane (East Dallas); 6121 W. Park Blvd., Plano.

Mexican Bar Company

Pollo tacos with butternut squash mojo and crispy butternut squash ($9-13)

6121 W. Park Blvd., Suite Rs-10, Plano.

click to enlarge Butternut squash "bolognese" at Mot Hai Ba - PEJA KRSTIC
Butternut squash "bolognese" at Mot Hai Ba
Peja Krstic

Mot Hai Ba

Butternut squash “Bolognese” with house-made vermicelli noodles, butternut squash, celery, onions and carrots, topped with shaved white truffle ($28)

6047 Lewis St. (East Dallas).

Nobu Dallas

Kabocha squash (a Japanese winter squash) tempura ($4)

400 Crescent Court (Uptown).

Partenope Ristorante

Early winter pizza with mozzarella or burrata and Parmesan cheeses, butternut squash, basil and candied bacon ($16)

Caprese di zucca with mozzarella or burrata, seasonal squash, basil, balsamic reduction and pesto ($12)

1903 Main St. (downtown).

Perle on Maple

Fall lettuces with roasted butternut squash and puffed wild rice, drizzled with maple-black pepper dressing ($11); add chicken ($4), steak ($6), salmon ($6)

2927 Maple Ave. (Uptown).

click to enlarge Squash pie at True Food Kitchen - TRUE FOOD KITCHEN
Squash pie at True Food Kitchen
True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen

Squash pie: a graham pie crust filled with spiced butternut squash filling topped with coconut cream ($9)

8383 Preston Center Plaza, Suite 100 (North Dallas); 7601 Windrose Ave., Suite F100, Plano.

Up On Knox

Seasonal minestrone soup with Comeback Creek Farm butternut squash ($11)

3230 Knox St., Suite 140 (Knox-Henderson).

Whiskey Cake

Roasted butternut-turmeric hummus ($8)

3601 Dallas Parkway, Plano.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.