Saturday, December 29, 2012

Butternut Squash Basics

By Madeleine Dee

Butternut squash is a wonderful treat this time of year, 
but to many people, a whole one looks like a difficult math problem. 

Here's the solution: 

1. Get out your peeler. 
(I prefer a serrated one because it leaves pretty grooves 
in the squash that pick up lots of flavor!)

Hold the squash firmly in one hand and peel the skin off in 
long strips from the bulbous end to the stem end. 
Be careful to keep your cute little fingers out of the way! :)

2. Firmly hold your squash by its center, then peel the skin off of both ends.

3. Trim both ends off (the stem and the very bottom) with a big, sharp knife, then carefully cut through the squash where it begins to curve into the rounded base.

4. Stand the rounded portion up and cut it in half.

5. Look at all the seeds inside! Coooool. :)

6. With a metal spoon, scoop the seeds out of both halves.

7. Make sure to scrape out all of the seeds and pulp until smooth.

8. Admire your work so far. You're doing very well. :)

9. With that big knife you had earlier, cut the long portion into thick, even rings.

10. Cube the entire squash into equal pieces.

You can do whatever you wish with the squash now, but from here on is a simple way to roast it and add some serious flavor! 

11. Lay your squash out in an even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.

12. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of ground cumin, 
the zest of 2 limes, and salt. Toss well to evenly coat each piece.

13. Roast at 375*F until softened and golden brown. Once cooked through, 
I like to sprinkle the squash with a bit of Parmesan cheese and return it to the oven until melted (pictured below).

14. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then enjoy! 

You can season your squash with whatever you like, but if you use this combination, it goes great with Mexican flavors, like spice-rubbed grilled chicken, guacamole, etc.

Don't be scared of a whole butternut squash ever again! ;)

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Executive Chef and Owner of No Place Like Home in Louisville, KY. Writer, actress, chef, professional cook and professional eater.