There is nothing mysterious about cooking butternut squash. Some of the fall squashes especially can seem a bit overwhelming. There is nothing to be afraid of, butternut is very easy to cook and other than burning, it is hard to do anything that won’t be delicious with it.
Butternut squash is a large beige skinned winter squash. It has wonderful orange colored flesh and adds a much needed pop of color to everything it is added to. It can be served alone or in a soup or stew. Because of its amazing sweetness, it is one of the most delicious vegetables in the world and even more important, it is a great source of several vitamins and minerals, including beta carotene.
Most recipes for butternut squash require that it be peeled. You will need a very sharp knife. Begin by cutting the squash into pieces and removing the seeds and fiber. Carefully peel off the thick yellow skin. Rinse off the squash and cut into inch square pieces.
Place the cubed pieces into a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature of the burner to low and simmer until the squash is fork tender. This should take between seven and nine minutes. You can also steam the squash which will get the desired results in between six and eight minutes.
Drain the water out of the pan and place the squash in a mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon of butter and using a potato masher, mash until the squash is smooth. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or brown sugar and stir. The squash is ready to serve and enjoy.
Another delicious way to cook butternut squash is to cook it in the oven. You can bake it or roast it. This requires that you coat the butternut squash with some olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper and some herbs such as rosemary or thyme. It needs to cook in a 400 degree oven for between 30 and 45 minutes. You want the squash to develop some dark color on several sides so about half way through the cooking time you need to move the pieces around.
You can also bake the butternut squash by just cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds and rinsing the squash. One good way to season it is to place brown sugar or maple syrup and butter into the whole in the squash left by the seeds. This should cook for about forty five minutes.
Butternut squash is the perfect squash especially in the fall and winter when it’s gorgeous color matches the lovely fall foliage. It is great to add to soups or stews and just about anything that you cook in the crock pot. It is also good as a soup all by itself.