this little dish has become a staple in my kitchen lately. it's very simple, but incredibly versatile. so far i've made a bed of it for a white, meaty fish. then i've used it as a spread - i was actually considering naming this squash jam/marmelade, it's so inspired as spread! if you add a bit of heat it can put a salsa to shame. it makes for a great base on pizza, under some goat cheese and olives. finally, i used it as garnish on pork chops, just as i would onion marmelade.
this is based on a traditional transylvanian dish i ate frequently growing up. though for some unexplained reason my mom didn't make it, i always found it at friends' houses. it's a delicious puree that uses either leeks or green onions, the squash, and some cream and thyme to finish it. i love it, but my daughter wouldn't go for it. i had to tweak it to make it more attractive for her, and as she likes tomato-based dishes, this is what resulted. she ate it twice already, it's a resounding success!
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, finely sliced
4 medium sized summer squashes, grated
3 tb butter
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tb fresh basil, chiffonade
2 tb fresh oregano, minced
salt, white pepper to taste
first heat up the butter and saute the leeks over low heat until they are soft, about 10 minutes. grate the squash - i do it on the coarse grater, because i like some texture. add the squash and raise the heat to medium high. give it a stir and once everything is heated through lower the heat to medium low and cook it down until most squash juice is gone, about 15-20 minutes. add the tomato sauce (i like to simmer mine to make it thick and pulpy, and i take care to season it well) and cook a few minutes more. add the herbs, season, and done. good hot or room temp. try using half squash, half eggplant, or add mushrooms or beans. any way you take, it will lead someplace delicious.