Let’s take a flashback to 1976 or so, when I was about 5 years old…
My Mom: “Here, have some yummy roasted butternut squash.”
Me: “I don’t like squash.”
Mom: “Just try it.”
Me: “I DON’T LIKE IT.”
Mom: “JUST TRY IT.”
Me: “I HAVE TRIED IT A MILLION TIMES AND I DO NOT LIKE SQUASH.”
Mom: “TRY IT OR YOU WILL NOT GET ANY POTATOES.”
Me: *tries the squash, gags dramatically*
Mom: *sighs heavily and dishes out the potatoes*
Repeat several times a year over the next twenty years, until Mom finally just gave up and always made potatoes for me instead.
Fast forward to November of 2019…
Me: “Suddenly I am craving squash.”
Mom (looking down from Heaven or wherever): “BWAAA HA HA HA HA HA”
So I had to figure out how to make my own squash, but I couldn’t ask my mom, ’cause all she did was cackle and gloat in a spiritually-transcended kind of way whenever I brought it up. Luckily, the Internet was there to teach me. And now I will teach YOU.
YOU WILL NEED:
- A Fine Fat Squash
- Your favorite spices
- Cookie sheet or baking pan
- About an hour and a half–this is easy to make, but you do need to plan ahead a bit.
Butternut squash tastes (and smells) a lot like pumpkins. In fact, I’ve read that you can use it as a substitute in any recipes calling for pumpkin. It’s tender, and sweet, tastes great with savory spices, and has so few calories that you can eat piles and piles of it with no guilt (as long as you don’t add any extra butter after it’s cooked). And hey–did you know that squash is actually a fruit, not a vegetable? That’s going to throw my OCD into hyperdrive because I want to put it in the RIGHT category in the navigation menu but no one will FIND it if I don’t just leave it under “Vegetables…”
It’s got a large, spherical base and a long stem. When you’re done making inappropriate jokes in the produce department, pick out one that feels heavy and firm.
Pre-heat the oven to 400. Cut the squash in half. It’s not as dense as you might expect, and if you’ve got a decent knife, it shouldn’t give you too much trouble. Be careful. Do not cut your thumb off.
Look at that! It’s got a hollow center with seeds, just like a pumpkin! And you’ll scoop it out the same way. Dig the spoon into the edge of the hollow and get rid of all that stuff.
Lay the two halves on the baking sheet. Cut off a generous hunk of butter and smear it all along the surface, and then drop the rest of the butter right in the hollows.
Use your spices liberally; you’ll want enough on the surface to distribute throughout the squash once you start cutting into it. I use onion powder, rosemary, and a little sage. I know that’s paprika in the photo up there, but I changed my mind and used sage instead after the pic was taken.
All ready to bake! You don’t need to wrap it in tin foil or anything; just pop it right into the oven. Let it sit in there and make those wonderful smells for at least an hour. Depending on the size of your squash, it might need a little more or less time, but you’d have to try pretty hard to over-do it. Roasted butternut squash should feel quite soft all the way through when you stick a fork in it.
Be careful when you pull it out of the oven because that melted butter is sloshy and HOT.
The skin is really thin and you should be able to peel it away from the meat without too much of a fight. It’s a messy job, though, and there’s not much you can do about that.
I still have to have potatoes though.
By the way, roasted butternut squash freezes really well, too, so if you just can’t finish the giant tub of squash by the end of the week, chuck it in the freezer for later.
Enjoy! And if you hear a disembodied chortle of glee, tell my mom I said hi.