Ingredient Spotlight: The Butternut Squash
Butternut squash can seem too intimidating and tough at first glance, but one simple trick will soften it up and make prepping this veggie so much easier.
It took me awhile to establish a relationship with butternut squash. To be completely frank, it seemed a bit too high maintenance for my taste. With its odd shape, tough skin, and somewhat mealy texture, I was not looking to get involved.
However, I succumbed to peer pressure and was forced into a few more awkward encounters with the squash. While I wasn’t ready to end the relationship forever, I wasn’t ready to give it a spot on my grocery shopping list either. But just as I was ready to give up, I was given a piece of advice that made me realize I was going about it all wrong.
It was me, not it.
I had been skipping the foreplay and going straight for the kill. Like all things with a set of curves, the butternut squash needed to be warmed up . . . it needed to be microwaved. Yes, it needed some excitation in the good ol’ microwave.
Once I discovered this, our relationship changed. We saw each other a lot, regularly, and now every fall and winter, I give it a coveted spot in my shopping cart. While there’s lots we know about each other, there’s still lots to do and learn.
The blogs posts that follow this ingredient spotlight give you a look into our relationship together in the kitchen:
Roasted Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts
Slightly sweet butternut squash is the perfect pairing for earthy brussels sprouts, making it the ultimate fall side dish. Read more.
Butternut Squash & Farro Casserole
We're giving casseroles an update with sophisticated and healthy ingredients perfect for any modern home cook! Read more.
If you’ve been on a rocky relationship with butternut squash just as I used to be, then I hope these recipes and the tutorial below will change your mind. Enjoy!
How to Prep Butternut Squash
Season: Fall & Winter
Nutrition: High in fiber, vitamin A / C / E, magnesium, potassium
Why We Love It: Possesses a delightful sweetness once you soften up the exterior
Good For: Roasting; Pureeing; Grilling; Bakes (Gratins, Casseroles); Baby food; Stuffing & Then Roasting
To Prep: Nuke in microwave for about 3 to 5 minutest to soften the skin. Then cut in half and remove seeds (seeds can be roasted on a baking sheet if you want to keep them). Remove the skin for all the “Good for” uses above except the last two (baby food + stuffing & then roasting) where the skin can be kept on. Watch how with this video:
How to Chop Butternut Squash
There's no need to wrestle with butternut squash anymore once you see how easy it is to prep this vegetable.
Note: This blog post was originally published in February 2012 and has been updated with new and helpful resources.
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