November 02, 2023
There is nothing - nothing - more delicious than roasted butternut squash. But there is nothing - nothing more daunting than prepping it when you bring it home. This holiday season I was determined to overcome my inner fears and start playing around with these delicious gourds from prep to bake to incorporating them into delicious recipes. When prepping, there are a few guidelines I like to follow. I go with a medium-size gourd and slice it into 4 pieces with a large chef's knife. First, I slice it in half (across the middle NOT lengthwise), trim the ends on both sides, and then slice the two pieces in half down the middle. I scoop out the seeds with a small spoon - a grapefruit spoon works really well. And then I start peeling. NOT with a paring knife, but with an ordinary potato peeler. The skin is oddly thin and easy to peel. Another option - a tip from a reader - is to keep the skin on. I tried it and they were right, you can actually cook it and eat it for extra fiber and nutrition - much like the skin on a baked potato. For me, I prefer to peel half the squash, and keep the skin on the other half. It gives me a good mix of both textures and does not overdo the peel. If cooking and eating the peal, then opt for organic squash. The recipe below gives you a baked version with an Indian garam masala spice blend. If you would like to make it more traditionally, swap out the garam masala for a teaspoon of black pepper. Keep the rest of the recipe the same. This version is perfect to add to an Italian risotto.
Oven: Roasted Garam Masala Butternut Squash
1 medium butternut squash, prepped and cubed (about 7 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place the squash, oil, garam masala, salt, and sugar in a deep bowl and stir until all the pieces are evenly coated.
3. Pour the seasoned squash onto a baking tray. Scrape out the remaining oil-spices from the bowl and add to the tray.
4. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes until soft and caramelized. Pull out the tray and stir the pieces after 20 minutes for even cooking. Some ovens run hot, so watch towards the end so you don't overcook. My oven took a full 40 minutes to get to the correct consistency, but my mother's oven took 35 minutes. Once cooked to perfection, remove from the oven and enjoy warm.
How does it taste? Here's a review from one young taste tester. "Thank you very much for the butternut squash! The texture was very soft and buttery and reminded me very strongly of pumpkin pie. The squash tasted very good, and I would recommend adding a small amount of less salt to some of the pieces. Overall, the flavors combined together really well, and I would look forward to eating this as a dessert." This from Alexandria C. My mother's neighbor's daughter who is not only a budding foodie, but a balanced taste tester. She is right. When you are mixing the spices and salt you want all the pieces to be coated evenly - in my rush I may have overlooked doing that. Thank you, Alexandria. You and your family rock! Thank you for giving my recipe a try and being an official taste tester for Indian As Apple Pie.
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November 28, 2023