This combination of Butternut Squash, Anise and Cranberries is an Italian Autumn must. I combined the traditional American veggie with a traditional Italian veggie and the outcome is delish. Its got a sweet pop of cranberry, squash roasted to creamy perfection and the tender crunch of the anise.
Is it called anise or is it called fennel?...I call it finoccio. Theres lots of words that have become part of the Italian American vocabulary. Among my Italian friends, its well understood. A scula pasta is a scula pasta, not a colander. A cupino is a cupino, not a laddle. My mother takes the cake though. She has Italian words made English that could make you fall off you chair in laughter. Some of my favorites are ridicala.....thats ridiculous. Then theres esso nuts, otherwise known as hazelnuts, but sound much worse than the way I chose to spell it! I will probably catch a beating for this post, so I hope you enjoy it. I hope its worth the size 10 shoe thats gonna get me later on this week!
1 lb or so of cut and peeled butternut squash
1 anise bulb, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup cranberries, dried
1/8 cup olive oil, or 3 tablespoons.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients in a medium casserole, toss well. Bake in a preheated oven at 475 for approximately 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. I check squashes tenderness by sticking it with a fork. If it falls off easily, then it's tender. If it smiles at you and whispers sweet nothings, well that's another way of knowing it's tender :)