Sometimes, on blustery fall nights, I can't help but crave the wholesome, warm taste of roasted butternut squash. So I buy one. Then I bring it home, try to cut it up, lose two appendages, and hand it over to my boyfriend before I die of blood loss on our kitchen floor.
Television chefs make it look so easy. They slice, cube, and skin butternuts with little strain, whereas I, possessing the muscle tone of a fetal Woody Allen, need a (freakin') pickaxe to make the smallest dent. It's times like those, when I lose a fight to a vegetable, that I turn to its fellow produce, the acorn squash.
Sweet, inexpensive, full of fiber, and (I find) infinitely easier to rend in two, acorn squash is a solid substitute for denser dinnertime starches. It's versatility is a plus, as well, since it's easily stuffed, puréed, made into soup, or my favorite - roasted, with a little bit of brown sugar. It's an easy preparation, but the rewards are pretty sweet. This version, which adds a smidge of maple syrup and butter, comes from a blog called Simply Recipes.
Ultimately, I'll never abandon butternut squash. It's too healthy, and too completely delicious. Still, for nights I don't have time for a hospital visit, the acorn variety is my squash of choice.
- Yield:2 to 4
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Dash of salt
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Using a strong chef's knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4-inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out.
Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.
Bake in the oven for 60 to 75 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.