Roasted Butternut Squash
- Servings: 4 to 6 depending on the size of the squash.
Butternut squash is a favorite vegetable, especially in the fall and when served at our winter holiday meals. It can be steamed and puréed, turned into soup, or roasted whole.
In this recipe a raw squash is peeled, seeded and cut into cubes that are roasted until soft and caramelized. The squash's sweet flavor becomes more complex during the roasting, seasoned only by salt and pepper.
If you wanted added flavor you can add a pinch of a single spice, such as ground cumin or cardamom or chipotle to the squash before roasting. But use a light touch because the roasting concentrates all the flavors and you don't want any spice to overwhelm the squash.
- 1 large whole butternut squash, about 1 to 2 pounds
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Optional: ground cumin, cardamom or chipotle
- Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the entire squash. It can become slightly slippery as you peel it so keep a firm grip so you won't cut yourself.
- With a large chef's knife, slice off and discard the top and bottom of the squash. Cut the squash at the point at which it bulbs out; this should reveal the seeds. Use a soup spoon or melon baller to scoop out the seeds; you can dry and toast the seeds later or discard them.
- Cut the rest of the peeled squash into 1-inch cubes. You should have 4 to 6 cups of cubed squash depending upon its original size.
- Spread the squash cubes in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the squash and season with a generous pinch of salt, several grinds of black pepper, and if you're adding a spice, a small pinch of a ground spice (cumin, cardamom or chipotle). With your clean hands, toss the squash in the oil and seasonings so that all the cubes are coated.
- Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, using a spatula to turn the pieces over a couple of times while they cook. It's done when all the pieces are soft and slightly brown on the edges.
- Serve immediately.
Tip: Using a food processor or immersion blender you can turn the cubes of cooked squash into a purée, leaving a few of the caramelized edges in the smooth purée.
Tip: The cooked squash cubes can also be served at room temperature in a salad of winter greens or added alongside another winter vegetable, such as steamed spinach or broccolini.