Roasted Butternut Squash : The Holiday Buffet

There is a first time for everything and this time, it is with Butternut squash for me. While the only squash I had eaten in India is the pumpkin, being in the US introduced me to the others like the yellow squash, acorn squash and only now, the butternut squash. Somehow, I had never gotten close to this one so far, probably because I knew no recipe that calls for it in the first place!
And the reason for me to make this side, is not because I am a big fan of butternut squash. Well, how could it be with this being my first try? During one of those browsing extravaganzas, when I stumbled upon Sala’s Roasted Butternut Squash recipe on veggiebelly, it was not a case of love at first sight. But several days later, its picture kept flashing back to me in an almost haunting way. Better yet, when I accidentally chanced upon the sight of different squashes on sale in Kroger, it was a mad rush of adrenaline that got me out of Kroger with the bag in hand before my brain could process it. It’s a different matter that it lay on my kitchen counter for a couple of days before the absolute ‘muhurat‘* happened today.
What I discovered is a very interesting taste, nutty, squashy and pleasantly sweet thanks to the added cane sugar. If you plan to eat it as a side as given in this recipe, I seriously suggest not to skimp on the sugar. I say this with experience because I did exactly that, only to realize later upon tasting that without the right amount of sugar and fat combined, it does not turn out half as good as how it is meant to be. So before you are disappointed, take my 2 cents of (unsolicited) advice.
And then, you can enjoy it scooping right out of the squash ‘bowl’ one small spoon at a time. You have to eat it to really understand why they named it “Butternut” squash in the first place. When roasted properly, one can experience the unification of buttery and nutty tastes at one place at the same time.
Ground black pepper and cinnamon are my substitution to the chipotle powder in the original recipe and although I generally do not like to mix sweet and hot, their contrasting tastes seemed to work in unison in a strange reciprocity.
What do you think of this combination. Have you tried that before? Do not hesitate to put down your thoughts in the comments box.

*A time or moment considered lucky (in India), often used to mark the commencement of a project or important work as per Wiki
This recipe is my contribution to the event Blog-Bites-9 : The Holiday Buffet hosted by Nupur of One Hot Stove!

recipe source:

Things you’ll need:
  • 1 small Butternut squash
  • 2 tsp butter / olive oil
  • ground black pepper and salt mix
  • ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp cane sugar (or as per your taste)
How it’s done:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Cut the Butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and fibre with a spoon. If required, cut off the top of the squash near the stem. I let mine be, just like that.
  • With a butter knife, drop tiny bits of butter scrolls about 1 tsp on each half of the squash everywhere and in the pit. If using olive oil, brush or drizzle all over the squash.
  • Sprinkle in the cane sugar 2 tsp on each of the squash halves, all over and drop some in the pit. Repeat with cinnamon and a tad bit of ground pepper and salt mix.
  • Oven roast with the pit-side up (obviously right) until the squash is tender (when a fork is poked into) or about 30-40 mins. Keep a close watch towards the end when you hear the sugar sizzling in the pit, to just let the sugar caramelize and not burn.
  • Serve warm.
  • Butternut squash can be hard to cut. I found my chef’s knife particularly helpful. As per this tip that I found here much later, for an easier cut, pop the squash in the microwave for 60 seconds after piercing with a fork and then proceed to cut.
  • The recipe called for brown sugar, but I had cane sugar at hand, so used it. Suit yourself as per your pantry stock.

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