Two Approaches For Cooking Butternut Squash
I enjoy cooking butternut squash in two different ways. It depends on whether I want it as a garlicky, salty, side dish – or, as a way to satisfy my ever present sweet tooth!
Whichever way I prefer – at any given moment – I’ll still roast my squash to get it ready for the dinner table.
First Things First – Cutting Up The Squash
The tools I use are:
- Tuo Carving Knife – It takes all the work out of sectioning the butternut squash – getting it ready for the next steps.
- OXO Potato Peeler – This is one heckuva sharp peeler! Keep your fingers out of the way – and always peel away from them when possible. If this tool can strip away that hard butternut skin effortlessly – just imagine what it can do to one – or more – of those digits attached to your hand! So, be careful!
- Whack off the top and bottom of the squash.
The very first thing I do is get out my TUO knife and lop off the top and bottom of the butternut squash – just enough to give me a solid, smooth foundation for the squash to rest while performing the further steps of preparation.
- Cut the squash in half.
Continuing with my TUO knife, I cut the butternut squash in half – width-wise – right where it flares out into the fat bottom section. This knife handles this task with the greatest of ease.
- Peel off the skin.
Next, I get out the sharpest potato peeler I have – my OXO peeler – and I remove all the skin from both the top slender piece and the bottom bulbous portion.
There will be some green streaks left behind. Continue to use the peeler until all the green is removed – since it is part of the skin and can be pretty bitter tasting.
The OXO is a super sharp peeler. Be acutely aware of that fact – and do everything you can to keep your fingers clear of that razor sharp blade!
- Cut the fat section in half to remove the pulp and seeds.
Time to get out my TUO knife again – and, cut the fat section lengthwise. Then, it is easy to use a spoon to remove all the seeds and pulp. All the pulp and seeds will – by all rights – be found in the lower section of the butternut squash.
NOTE: Don’t throw the seeds away. At the end of this article, I’ll explain how to roast them – and create a deliciously healthy snack!
- Chop up the squash.
Time to dice up the squash flesh. One inch – to an inch-and-a-half – is a good size for the pieces. You’ll be surprised how much you can get from just one butternut squash.
- Now – add some oil and garlic salt.
I mix a teaspoon of garlic salt with 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) of extra virgin olive oil, pour it over the squash pieces, and coat all of them thoroughly. Then, I spread the chunks out as evenly as possible on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet. The aluminum foil just makes for easier cleanup of the baking sheet – so, if you don’t have the foil, don’t worry about it.
- Pop ‘em in the oven.
With the oven set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius), I stick the baking sheet full of squash into the oven for three quarters of an hour – give or take a few minutes. When a fork pierces the pieces easily, the squash is done – and, it is time to sink your teeth into it!
NOTE: When I have a sweet craving, I forgo the olive oil and garlic salt, and, instead, I use 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of melted butter, mixed with a half cup of brown sugar – and, a dash of cinnamon – to coat the squash chunks. The cooking time and temperature is the same – 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes – and, when the squash comes out, it is far better tasting than sweet potato casserole or pumpkin pie – in my humble opinion!
Time To Roast The Seeds!
There is nothing like chomping down on some roasted squash seeds.
Put the mass of pulp and seeds into a bowl of water – and, most of the seeds will float to the top for easy separation. Stir the mix every once in a while and more seeds will detach from the pulp and float freely. To get the last few seeds, it becomes necessary to pick through the pulpy mess – pitching the pulp and grabbing the remaining seeds as you go.
Pat dry the seeds in a paper towel – and coat them with a little olive oil and a bit of garlic salt.
Put them on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, stick the sheet in a 325 degree Fahrenheit (163 degree Celsius) oven for 25 to 30 minutes – until they just start to turn a darker color.
Then, they’re done – and ready for snackin’!
And, There You Have It!
By the way, do you know the best thing to put into a dish of roasted butternut squash?
Why – your teeth, of course!
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