Monday, November 23, 2009

Easy Butternut Squash

It makes me sad when I see the packets of peeled and cubed butternut squash in the market for over a dollar a pound when the whole squash sits beside them at mere pennies per pound. Unfortunately, this is an extremely popular item because people absolutely hate to peel the tough, waxy skin and worry about their fingers as they attempt to chop through the tough flesh. Believe me. I understand your pain and fear. Even with the sharpest of knives and peelers, butternut squash is a tough nut to crack.

But what if there were an easier way? What if the squash itself did all the work? It can. All you have to do is ask your oven for help....

Easy Baked Butternut Squash
With Microwave and Make-Ahead variations

1 whole winter squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, etc.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
brown sugar

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
2) Using a very sharp chef's knife, slice through the squash from stem to bottom.
3) Scoop out seeds and as much of the stringy flesh as you can.
4) Pour oil into a large glass baking dish. Smear oil around to coat the bottom of the dish.
5) Place both halves of squash cut side down in the dish.
6) Place the baking dish into the oven and cook until you can pass through the skin and flesh easily with a butter knife (20-40 minutes).
7) Remove dish from the oven and carefully flip squash face-up. Cool 5-10 minutes.
8) Using a large spoon or an ice cream scoop, remove the soft flesh from the squash and place it into a serving dish.
9) Add butter to hot squash. Mash well. Add brown sugar to taste.

Microwave Variation: Follow the recipe above. Instead of using the oven, microwave squash on high power for 15 minutes. Test for doneness and continue cooking in 5 minute intervals until done.

Make-Ahead Variation: Follow the recipe above except place squash in a covered casserole dish instead of a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. To reheat, place casserole in the microwave and microwave on high in 5 minute intervals, stirring between each until heated throughout.


  1. This is so funny - I nearly asked you this morning if you had a recipe for squash that was roasted but NOT mashed up. I find that everything is mushy at thanksgiving - mashed potatoes, mushy stuffing (not mine), pureed turnip, and mashed up squash. Even sweet potatoes get smashed. I found a recipe where you roast the squash in cubes, and really peeling the butternuts is not difficult, so I think I'll try that. :)

  2. In reply to Amy's comment...

    Both Michael Chiarello and Ina Garten have recipes for cubed roasted squash. See I tried it myself and I found the cubes turn to mush anyway. Perhaps you'll have better luck.

    Another neat variation is to cut the squash into slices (think sliced melon), sprinkle with butter and brown sugar, roast on one side on a cookie sheet, turn, and continue roasting. Serve each guest one slice. It should be easy to eat the flesh off the peel. This method works exceptionally well with acorn squash, as it's more spherical.


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