We spent last weekend doing our every 6 month stock up trip. This involves a 5 hour round trip drive just to get to the nearest "big" town. While there we normally get home improvement supplies for upcoming projects, bulk buys of freezer staples and stop at a craft store just for fun. It's a lot of work and takes a whole day, but since we've moved up here I've found our budget is a lot happier when I can only get to Target once every 6 months.
This time around we ended up driving by a farm stand that was full of fall favorites. There was an awesome variety of winter squashes as well as several varieties of apples. The apples especially were a bargain because we were buying from the "not quite perfect" discounted bin to make applesauce. The sauce doesn't care if it's apples started out perfect or not.
I also got this butternut squash. I think butternut is one of the best tasting squashes and it also happens to be the easiest squash to work with. Even better, it's as versatile as pumpkin in the fact it can be used in a savory dish or a sweet dish.
Baking really is the key to the best flavor. You’d be surprised what it brings to the squash in terms of depth and flavor. Also, baking the squash as opposed to steaming or boiling it makes it so rich and thick and creamy… you don’t need to do or add anything to it after it’s done baking.
You can serve the squash as is or mash it roughly with a fork or potato masher if you’re in the mood for something that’s more like a puree. You can also save the roasted squash to be used in other dishes like homemade ravioli, risotto or lasagna.
Oh, and for the record, you can use this exact same technique with basically any kind of winter squash: buttercup, acorn, carnival, kabosha or even spaghetti squash.
They’re all equally delicious!
Oven Roasted Butternut Squash
1 medium to large butternut squash
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Generous sprinkle of salt and pepper
About 1/4 cup water
Preheat the oven to 375*.
Cut the butternut squash in half. Be careful as the squash may want to roll around while you are cutting. Scoop out the guts and seeds with a spoon.
Place the halves in a broiler pan and drizzle them with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Turn the squash flesh side down and pour about 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of the pan.
Bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, or until the squash becomes really soft and can easily be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Check from time to time to make sure the squash isn't burning. You want the water to eventually completely evaporate, which will allow the squash to caramelize, but you don't want things to burn. Add a little more water if you feel it's needed.
When the squash is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes until you can safely handle it, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Eat squash as is or add into your favorite squash recipe.
As you can see from my baked squash, flipping these halves can be tricky. They are so soft that they squished the second I tried to make them pretty. Tasted great though!
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I love cooking with real food, knitting with good yarn, sleeping in (when the kids let me), staying up late to finish that last chapter, DIY projects, and most of all enjoying life.
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