Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Butternut Squash Extravaganza!!!!

I love fall.  It is my absolute favorite season.  I love the crisp, fresh air with that chill that makes you want to bundle up in a cozy sweater....or more likely for me, a turtleneck (and despite what people may say, it IS possible to make a turtleneck look sexy!). 

So what else would be on the menu, but soup!  Butternut squash soup is one of my go-to fall meals.  I don't care for the sweetened up version with apple juice or cider, I like the kind with a kick - bring on the cayenne, that'll really warm you up.  Here's the squash I used to make it, fresh from Homestead Farms out in MD - a true "butt"ernut if I do say so myself!


1  2-2 ½ pound butternut squash – halved lengthwise and seeded
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup nonfat milk
1 small onion – chopped
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper – to taste
Salt and pepper – to taste


Preheat oven to 400°.  Coat 13”x9” glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Place squash cut side down in dish.  Pierce each half several times with knife or skewer.  Bake until tender, about 45-50 minutes.

While squash is baking, sauté onions with 1-1 ½ tablespoons of butter on medium heat and stir frequently until caramelized.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

When squash is finished baking and slightly cooled, scoop it into a food processor, one half at a time.  Divide other ingredients – onions, nutmeg, broth and milk – between the two batches.  Puree until smooth.  Pour the soup into a medium sized saucepan.  Heat thoroughly adding salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.  


If you're not that into soup or just feel like something else, another way to have butternut is cut up and roasted as a side dish.  Here's what I do:

Preheat the oven to about 425°.  Peel the squash, slice it in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds and goop.  Cut it into chunks about 1" in size.  Spread the chunks on a jelly roll pan in a single layer.  Pour some olive oil and canola oil over them (olive for flavor, canola because it has a higher smoke point), then sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, pepper and little nutmeg.  Mix everything up with your hands and make sure all pieces are well coated.  Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or so.  I usually check on them every 10 minutes, give them a turn and poke them with a fork.  Bake until your desired doneness.  *Note, when they start to caramelize a little on the edges they are AMAZING!

I wonder what else I can do with butternut squash.....I'm thinking scones are next, or maybe rolls.  What do you think??