Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Get ready for a slew of winter squash recipes. Tis the season! Unfortunately, my guy’s not a big fan of winter squash, but maybe I can change him. Oh, how many women have uttered those words? He did come around on Brussels sprouts, so I’m not giving up yet.

I like roasting squash more than any other preparation, although I’m willing to have my mind changed on that. This is about the simplest and tastiest way I know to make butternut squash.

The most challenging part is peeling the squash. I trim the ends off and cut the squash crosswise into more manageable pieces, separating the fat bell end from the thinner neck. Sit the pieces on a cutting board, cut side down, and with a sharp knife, slice off the peel. I’ve tried peeling butternut with a peeler but I find this way much easier.

Once your squash is peeled, all you have to do is cut it into 1” squares, toss it with oil and your choice of spices or herbs, some crushed garlic and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. I went with rosemary this time, but feel free to play around with what you have on hand.

Sage and thyme are also good herb choices. Sometimes I add cayenne, ground chipotle pepper or smoked paprika. Next time I may toss it with a little maple syrup. Mmmm. And what about a bit of bacon or pancetta?

I haven’t tried roasting other winter squash like this, if I do I’ll report back here. What’s your favorite way to cook butternut squash? Do you roast other winter squash this way?

Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes | Grabbing the Gusto

Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes | Grabbing the Gusto (photo by Nikki Tysoe/Flickr)

Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes

You’ll need a rimmed sheet or baking pan.

  • Butternut squash, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
  • A few cloves of garlic, trimmed and smooshed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Options: cayenne pepper, ground chipotle, smoked paprika, bacon, pancetta or maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400. Spread the cubed squash out onto the sheet pan in a single layer. If you have too much squash for a single layer, get out another pan. If the squash is too close together, it might steam instead of roasting. You won’t get all those nice caramelized edges if it steams. Toss the squash with oil, rosemary and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. About the garlic: you can put it in now and let it get all brown and crispy, or you can wait until the last 15 minutes or even less.

Roast until the squash is tender, but not mooshy, about 30 minutes. Give it a toss after 15 minutes in the oven so more sides have a chance to get some pan time. Don’t worry if it caramelizes a bit, like in the photo, that makes it even tastier.

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