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Chef Nash Cognetti shows you how to prepare Zuccha alla Livornese for a great butternut squash meal.
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Zuccha Alla Livornese Butternut Squash Recipe
Host: It’s the favorite among winter squashes and the most versatile one at that. We’re talking about butternut squash. The veggie is easy to store and prepare. This thick skin squash is loaded with vitamin A, six grams of dietary fiber and packed with flavor. California grows 20% our nation’s squash making this state number one in squash production. Food and lifestyle expert, Laura McIntosh is Bringing It Home.
Laura McIntosh: I'm so excited to introduce to you the executive chef from Tra Vigne, Nash Cognetti. Hi Nash!
Nash Cognetti: Good to see you. How are you?
Laura McIntosh: Thanks for joining us.
Nash Cognetti: Thank you for having me.
Laura McIntosh: Now, tell them the name of this recipes and I'm going to have you say it a couple times because I just love it.
Nash Cognetti: It’s called zuccha alla livornese, zuccha being Italian for squash. We’re just using good old butternut squash.
Laura McIntosh: Voila! This is a butternut squash.
Nash Cognetti: So we’ll start very simply by just taking our slices of butternut squash about a quarter of an inch thick or so.
Laura McIntosh: It’s beautiful, look at that.
Nash Cognetti: And just lightly putting them in the flour. You’re noticing I'm not putting any salt and pepper on these, and that’s because later on we’re layering this dish with parmesan cheese. We’re trying to do something that’s a little bit lighter and a little bit more you know it doesn’t weigh down your stomach after you eat it.
Laura McIntosh: I like that, you can eat more of that.
Nash Cognetti: Exactly.
Laura McIntosh: Okay, good.
Nash Cognetti: So, we’re just going to start by putting this butternut squash in our hot extra virgin olive oil and were always cooking with extra virgin olive oil. And that’s really the only olive that were using at the restaurant, it's actually virgin olive oil so.
Laura McIntosh: Okay, can we do two?
Nash Cognetti: Yeah and we can do more than two actually.
Laura McIntosh: Alright.
Nash Cognetti: And you’ll see we’re not trying to really fry the squash here because we’re going to bake it in the oven later. So to start it, I'm just going to put a little bit of our basic marinara sauce. Basic marinara sauce for me in my kitchen is just olive oil, garlic and tomatoes. So once this thing start going a little bit, you just want to kind of – and you’ll see like I said before, we’re not really frying these to the point that we want to batter them, right.
Laura McIntosh: Right, correct. This is not a deep fried squash dish.
Nash Cognetti: It’s not a deep fried. So why don’t you go ahead and start --
Laura McIntosh: Doing some more?
Nash Cognetti: Flouring some more those babies.
Laura McIntosh: Okay, alright.
Nash Cognetti: And I'm going to take these ones that we have, just kind of shake them free of the olive oil.
Laura McIntosh: And I know most of you are going to want to do these and try these recipes at home because like Nash said, there's what – five, six ingredients.
Nash Cognetti: Really, really simple.
Laura McIntosh: The recipe is on our website. So check that out, get the recipes and try them at home.
Nash Cognetti: Next step, we’re building this like we would build like lasagna.
Laura McIntosh: Okay.
Nash Cognetti: Or like I said before, eggplant parmesan.
Laura McIntosh: Okay.
Nash Cognetti: So we have our tomato sauce. We have our butternut squash. The next layer, we just put a little bit more of that, what I said basic marinara sauce and then I'm going to reach around here, I'm sorry.
Laura McIntosh: Oh some cheese.
Nash Cognetti: And parmesan cheese. And like I said before, this is not the stuff that comes in a little green can from the supermarket. Grated fresh and have to be fantastic because that’s the whole point behind the dish.
Laura McIntosh: Right. How many layers?
Nash Cognetti: Until it’s full.
Laura McIntosh: Until it’s full, okay.
Nash Cognetti: Until it’s full. And what’s going to happen then in the oven, if you bake it uncovered is it's going to get that crust on the top.
Laura McIntosh: Alright.
Nash Cognetti: That’s the action right there baby.
Laura McIntosh: I like – that is the action.
Nash Cognetti: That crust on the top, that golden brown crust is what you want.
Laura McIntosh: Okay now, you have one done?
Nash Cognetti: I do.
Laura McIntosh: Let’s take a look at them. Let’s see what the finish product looks like. And did you see how easy that was? Now, it’s important to remember. You saw that Nash had the oil ready to go, make sure that oil is up to where you can put your squash in there and it’ll cook it pretty quick.
Nash Cognetti: Yeah, absolutely.
Laura McIntosh: Oh, that looks gorgeous.
Nash Cognetti: Oh, it’s bubbling.
Laura McIntosh: Oh, yeah!
Nash Cognetti: Oh, it’s bubbling.
Laura McIntosh: My mouth is watering and that’s bubbling.
Nash Cognetti: Oh yeah.
Laura McIntosh: That’s gorgeous.
Nash Cognetti: So the only thing I would do to finish the dish right now --
Laura McIntosh: Yeah.
Nash Cognetti: is just to put some fresh chopped Italian parsley on the top.
Laura McIntosh: Nash, easy, fun and like I said, I'm you’re eyes, ears and your taste buds today and they're already watering.
Nash Cognetti: Simple, right?
Laura McIntosh: Simple and I only have a little flour on my hands.