Butternut squash are hearty, tasty winter squash that are simple to prepare and full of flavor. It is almost a comfort food to some. Roasting this squash takes almost no effort at all and really develops the flavors and creates a wonderful texture.
To make a basic roasted butternut squash, you will need:
- A butternut squash
- Some olive oil or butter
- Brown sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lay the butternut squash on its side and cut it lengthwise in half. This can be tricky and sometimes dangerous, so be very careful when cutting. It sometimes helps to have a kitchen towel underneath the squash to help stabilize it.
- Take each of the halves and lay them on a baking sheet, cut side up. If you have to nip a little off the rounded bottom part to make it flat so they stay still, by all means do so.
- Drizzle some olive oil over the open squash or add small dabs of butter all about it. Sprinkle the salt over the surface; if desired, sprinkle the brown sugar over as well. The brown sugar is part of the traditional recipe, but some people find it to be too sweet when combined with the caramelized sugars inside the squash.
- Place the squash in the preheated oven and let it roast. It should roast until it is soft and able to be easily taken out of the skin with a spoon (and if there is butter or sugar, that should also be melted and preferably just a little brown). This can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour, depending upon the size of your squash.
When this is done, you have a roasted butternut squash! This can be eaten as is or smeared with butter. It can also be saved and used in a squash soup recipe. The roasting will add extra flavor to the soup.
There are endless variations on this process for roasting a butternut squash. Some people like to add strips of bacon across the squash so that as it cooks, the fat from the bacon enters the squash and creates a savory treat.
Another popular idea has been to dice the squash into pieces and roll them in oil and cinnamon, spread them out on a sheet pan and sprinkle with brown sugar and bake. This creates small, sweet pieces of squash that are a pleasant surprise to eat.
The possibilities are endless. Roasted butternut squash is a versatile and comforting dish to have, however it is prepared.