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Easiest Way to Cook Butternut Squash

Easiest Way to Cook Butternut Squash

Years ago, I would follow recipes fairly strictly since I did not have much confidence in my ability to improvise in the kitchen. One day I was lamenting to a friend about how much butternut squash I was peeling, dicing, and sautéing (thanks to a seasonal CSA boom and one go-to recipe), and he gave me the most valuable squash-cooking advice one can get. Given that it's now squash season, I thought the tip would be particularly useful. It is as follows.

 

Easy and Quick Butternut Squash:

  1. Wash the squash, then chop it in half length-wise.
  2. Scoop out and discard the seeds.
  3. Place the squash face-down on an oiled baking dish.
  4. Cook at 400° for ~40 min, or until the skin browns and blisters.
  5. Remove the squash from the oven, and allow it to cool >10 min.
  6. Scoop the squash out with a spoon (it will be tender and easily scooped), and discard the skin.
  7. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and enjoy immediately (or use in any number of recipes).

 

Any time a recipe tells you to peel a butternut squash before cooking it, I say avoid this needlessly labor-intensive process, and bake the squash instead. While sautéing can improve the crisp outside texture, it's only worth the effort on a special occasion. Baking saves time and work, and the squash cooks perfectly every time. This lazy, er, efficient technique works equally well for other types of hard squash, including spaghetti squash, acorn squash, and pumpkin.

Cut the squash, and scoop out the seeds.

Cut the squash, and scoop out the seeds.

Bake face-down on a oiled pan until skin becomes brown and blistered.

Bake face-down on a oiled pan until skin becomes brown and blistered.

Scoop out the flesh, add some salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Scoop out the flesh, add some salt and pepper, and enjoy.

 

All photos by Lauren Shipp featuring delicious Be Wise CSA butternut squash

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