I recently came to realize [once again] that I don’t often enough share my super easy, every day life recipes, like this Oven Roasted Butternut Squash, which I pretty much eat on a weekly basis whenever squash is in season.
I guess it’s because I find they are way too simple to deserve the exclusivity of an entire post. Plus, my mind is always like: “Duh, people already KNOW how to make this basic stuff, they certainly don’t need me to show them again.
But sometimes, even when we know how to make something we tend to forget about them and it’s nice to be reminded of their existence. Plus, it’s often interesting to check out someone else’s take on a familiar recipe.
Besides, we’re not always in the mood for elaborate dishes and sometimes, the simplest things in life turn out to be the best…
For me, butternut squash that gets slowly roasted in a hot oven until it caramelizes would be one of those things.
Caramelization really is the key with this dish. You’d be surprised what it brings to the squash in terms of depth and flavor. Also, baking the squash as opposed to steaming or boiling it makes it so rich and thick and creamy… you don’t need to do or add anything to it after it’s done baking.
Oh, and for the record, you mustn’t absolutely use butternut squash for this dish to work. You can use this exact same technique with basically any kind of winter squash: buttercup, acorn, carnival, kabosha or even spaghetti squash.
They’re all equally delicious!
The first thing you need to do is preheat your oven to 375°F. Small detail, but very important nonetheless. This makes all the difference in the world. Your oven needs to be nice and hot as soon as the squash enters it.
While that temperature is climbing, cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the guts and seeds with a spoon. I like to use my trusty ice cream spoon for that. I find it has the perfect shape as well as the necessary sturdiness and the sharp edges make the task so much easier.
Place your squash halves in a broiler pan and drizzle them with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Turn the squash flesh side down and pour about 1/4 cup of water at the bottom of the pan.
Bake the squash the oven, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, until it becomes really soft and can easily be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
You might want to check on it from time to time to make sure that the squash isn’t burning. You want the water to eventually completely evaporate, otherwise, the squash wouldn’t caramelize, but still, you don’t want it to burn. Add a tiny bit more water if you feel things are getting a tad too dry or too dark…
When the squash is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes, until you can safely handle it, then flip it over and scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
Again, my weapon of choice for this would be my trusty ice cream spoon!
You can serve the squash as is or mash roughly with a fork or potato masher if you’re in the mood for something that’s more like a puree.
Oh, and please, do add a very generous dollop of ghee on top of the pile of goodness. It’ll only elevate it by *that* much, you know…
And there you have it, so simple, yet so elegant. This tasty side dish goes well with just about anything and goes down very good any time of day. It’s perfect at breakfast, lunch or dinner and is especially fabulous post work-out!
It can also very easily be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat. The beauty of the skillet technique is that you can add a generous amount of ghee and have that squash caramelize yet again.
Oooh goodness! Can you feel the love? I think I am totally, shamelessly, helplessly infatuated!
I wish it were always squash season…