19 February, 2015
Butternut Squash in the Oven
Butternut Squash is not a sexy dish to talk about. Oh it’s delicious and easy-to-make, for sure, but sexy like say lobster or grilled steak… nope. It is something you can do quickly and replace the ordinary baked potato every once in a while.
You’ll quickly master roasting squash to find it’s a versatile and very tasty vegetable. Most squash will cook about the same way and if you prepare it for a date night dinner instead of the usual noodles, rice or potatoes – that will surprise your date and suirprise is kinda sexy. I think. But maybe that’s just me.
- Simply choose a squash. Butternut. Acorn. Delicata. They're all tasty and easy to find at most grocery stores, farmers markets or you might know folks who grow them.
- kosher salt - about ½ tsp per half
- black pepper - about ¼ tsp per half
- extra virgin olive oil - about 1 Tbsp per half
- Cut the squash in half as shown in the photo, scoop out the seeds and stuff just like you did pumpkins for halloween. I trim just a thin slice off the round side of the squash so it will sit when placed on the baking sheet and not roll to one side. Season with salt & pepper and let it sit for a few minutes before brushing on some California extra virgin olive oil. Seasoning before brushing on the oil gives the salt a chance to draw out some moisture from the squash, mix with it and begin to season deeply inside as it's absorbed back in. Instead of olive oil you can use melted unsalted butter too. If you don't have unsalted butter - use salted and don't salt the squash.
- When you get accomplished at this you will want to experiment with additional layers of flavor like brown sugar, maple syrup, herbs and spices. But wait to do that so you have a basic understanding of what the squash tastes like without added flavors.
- Place the tray with the squash in a 400°F degree oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer sounds check the tenderness of the squash with a fork to see if it goes in easily. The firmer the squash the more cooking time needed. Extend by 10 minutes each time you check and it needs more cooking.
- Remove from the oven when done and let rest to cook a bit - then serve. You can serve the half on a plate or cut it into sections.