Cut the squash in half and place on a large baking sheet. Coat each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-60 minutes or until the flesh is very tender and pulls easily away from the sides. Let cool slightly and scoop out the flesh. Add flesh to a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to add a little chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water) if the puree isn’t blending well. You should have a rustic, thick purée perfect for when you want more texture in your finished dish.
I admit it. I have been on a butternut squash kick lately. 3 of the recipes currently rattling around my hard drive have the yummy orangeness as either the star or in a very strong supporting role. I just can’t get enough of the slightly sweet, creamy, gently nutty flavor and luckily for me (and you!) it is such a versatile little workhorse in both use and its ability to take on any flavor combination, you can have often without the ho-hums setting in.
These recipes (not really “recipes”, more like “How-Tos”) are for basic, nothing-added-to-it roasted butternut squash, which is still absolutely delicious. Using a blank canvas such as this allows you to introduce flavors via other ingredients, such as the basil-ricotta in the upcoming Butternut Squash Lasagna, which is just out of this world delicious. The first bite had me doing the whole eyes-rolling-back-into-my-head thing. (It’ll be up by Thursday, I promise. It would be a crime to keep such a thing of beauty to myself.)
But if you’re wanting to knock it out of the flavor-park from the get-go, just use these roasting methods and add any flavors you like: maple syrup and brown sugar would sweeten the deal brilliantly, lime zest and fresh cilantro would be best friends with a cumin-rubbed chicken breast, and of course, rosemary, sage and a sprinkling of parmesan will make any pork chop/loin/roast do the happy happy joy joy dance. Along with your mouth (and wallet – this little beauty is C-H-E-A-P!).
1-3lb Butternut Squash (or as much as you need)
Freshly ground black pepper
Broth or water, as needed
Preheat oven to 400°.
FOR A PURÉE:
For a smoother purée, such as for use in soups or all on its own as a side dish, strain the rustic puree through a chinoise or fine strainer. It’s a little extra work but the end result is well worth it!
For dishes where you don’t want the darker color spots obtained by roasting, after the oil and seasoning have been applied, cover the entire squash with foil and bake as directed.
Cut and seed the squash. Peel the squash halves and dice into 1-inch cubes. Coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40-60 minutes, turning at least once during cooking.
Serve cubes with other roasted vegetables or squashes (can be roasted all together) or add to couscous, rice or quinoa.