Do you cook butternut squash? We all need new recipe ideas from time to time. Or if you aren't used to cooking autumn veggies from scratch this is a super easy way to get started. This recipe ends up soft and creamy like whipped mashed potatoes and it's one of my favorite comfort foods in cooler weather.
I'll show you the 5 simple steps as we go. Much of the baking time is hands off while the squash is in the oven so you can set a timer and go do other things. Set the Oven to 350 F to preheat.
|Step 1: Cut the squash in half vertically. If there is a small stem on the top it should break off by using the tip of the knife to cut or pry it off. Then, make sure your knife is longer than the squash is wide. I usually start with a chop method, but this depends on your aim to get it reasonably centered. Then press down hard to get all the way through the squash.
|Once you have it cut in half you can see the yellow fruit and the seed hollow. If yours didn't get exactly in half, it will be okay, just keep in mind the thicker side may take slightly longer to bake.
|Step 2: remove the seeds with a spoon. This is the same concept as cleaning the seeds out of a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern but you can see what you're doing. Just scape the inside of the cavity so there aren't any strings.
|Step 3: Once the seeds are removed, place them face down on a baking sheet. Edges help as there will be a small amount of juice depending on how ripe the squash is, but a flat sheet will work too. Depending on the size of the squash and your sheet, you may have to turn the halves but ideally you just don't want them touching. Then place the sheet in the center of the oven and set a timer for 1 hour.
|Step 4: When the timer goes off, check the squash is done. It should be soft enough that you can press on the top of the solid section (not the seed cavity) and make an indentation. Thicker squash may need a little more time. If you're squash was not equally in half, check the thicker half. Once it's done, remove from the oven. Using a hot pad or oven mit, pick up one side and use a spoon to scoop the soft squash into a large mixing bowl. Sometime the skin breaks and tears so it may be easier to peel the skin off than to scoop.
|Step 5: Once you have the soft squash scooped into a bowl add butter, milk, salt and pepper to taste. This was a fairly large squash so I added 5 tablespoons of butter, about a teaspoon of salt to start. If you're squash was watery you may not need as much milk, more if the squash if the squash is dry and thick. You want to be able to beat it with a mixer like mashed potatoes. After blending with the mixer to get the constancy of mashed potatoes, taste and add more salt or pepper to taste.
Serve as is, with butter on top or, my personal favorite, chicken gravy on top. This squash makes a great side for chicken.
What's your favorite comfort food in cooler weather? Share with us in the comments.
If you liked this recipe you may like this other post for roasted autumn veggies.