Let’s keep this simple:
Butternut squash is in season, as I’ve already mentioned. But perhaps you are not yet on team butternut squash and need another nudge.
That hard-on-the-outside, uniquely shaped squash is one of my favorite things to cook. It strikes the perfect sweet-salty balance when prepared simply; it’s versatile; it’s good for you. So what’s not to like?
The outer layer, that’s what.
The tough peel is daunting, I know. That’s why I told you already that the secret is peeling it with a vegetable peeler. It works, I promise. Peel the squash, then cut it in half, scoop out the sting and seeds, cut the flesh into cubes, and you’re ready to go.
I like to rub those cut cubes with a generous amount of olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, layer on some fresh thyme sprigs, and roast in a hot oven (390, for my oven) for about 30 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned and the squash flesh is soft. Want to add some garlic cloves to that mix? Do it. Safe instead of thyme? Go for it.
I’ll eat that roasted squash right off the baking sheet sometimes (meaning every time). Whatever I don’t eat right away I’ll store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until I’m ready to toss it in a salad or turn it into a lovely bisque.
Today I bought two good-sized squash from the market, and I prepared them exactly as described.
Tonight, for dinner, I tossed squash with leftover chicken (diced), red onion, (diced), oak leaf lettuce, chives, and créme frâiche. It was an easy, delicious October dinner, made possible from work earlier in the day.
Maybe now you’ll consider giving it a try? What is there to lose?!
(End note: Written on a tiny phone screen from my bed, where I’m trying to stay warm and stay awake until my kiddo gets home. I’m certain there are typos. I hope they’re funny.)