Roasted Butternut Squash
By Michelle Alfaro
If you’re looking for a delicious vegetable side for your holiday table, then look no farther than this Roasted Butternut Squash! Squash in general used to really intimidate me. We NEVER had it growing up, and I had never really watched anyone prepare it. It was totally an alien vegetable. Once upon a time,I was feeling particularly adventurous at the store, so I picked one up and promised myself I would learn the winter squash secrets, and boy was I pleased with the results.
Butternut squash has a hard peel that can be brutal to get off. It once deformed my vegetable peeler, which has never peeled the same again. But! I have since discovered an excellent tip that makes the skin removal of this vegetable super easy. Cut the ends off the squash. Poke it all over with a fork, then throw it in the microwave, on high, for about 3 minutes. Let it sit there until it’s cool enough to handle and the peel will be about 80% easier to deal with. Nowadays, I spare my vegetable peeler and (very carefully!) use a sharp knife to remove the peel. SO worth it, and SO much easier!
All squash have seeds. For a butternut, they are usually located in the bottom portion that looks a bit like bell. Remove the bell shape from the taller upper shape, then cut the bell in half. Scrape the seeds out, then cut the whole squash into bite sized pieces. Even with the microwave, it may still take a bit of muscle to get it all squared away, just make sure your knife is sharp, and refuse to quit.
Now that you’ve got that pesky peel taken care of, here’s the rest of the recipe!
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into bite sized chunks
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread cut squash on a baking pan. Try not to crowd one pan with too much squash. If the squash you picked up was very large, use two pans instead of overloading one pan. Toss with olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste.
Put in preheated oven, and proceed to forget about it. No really, it’s pretty hard to burn this squash, and the longer you are patient, the more caramelized and scrumptious it gets. I usually let mine roast for about 30 minutes, but you can let it go for longer or shorter, depending on how small you cut your pieces. Pull them out when the chunks are soft and the bottoms are browned and delicious. Do yourself a favor and don’t tell your loved ones what they’re eating until after they tried it. Their new favorite vegetable!