This photo guide takes you through how to roast whole butternut squash — and you’ll see how incredibly easy it is! Then you can use it in dozens of recipes!
The simple beauty of an ingredient can make me pause. Whether I’m peeling asparagus or an onion, slicing beets or citrus, or maybe simply swirling melted butter around a pan, I’m constantly struck at how beautiful food can be.
Every time I slice a roasted butternut squash in half, I love seeing the rich and deep orange color reveal itself, and I slow down, maybe even stop briefly — and photograph.
What is Butternut Squash?
- Butternut is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine.
- It’s medium to large in size and is shaped somewhat like a bell, with a long neck attached to a bulbous end.
- The neck portion of the squash contains solid orange, dense flesh, and the bulbous end has a hollow seed cavity that’s a bit stringy.
- They have tan-colored skin that’s fairly smooth and quite thin.
Why roast a whole butternut squash?
- It’s so incredibly easy to roast a whole butternut squash! Seriously, all you do is pierce it s few times with a fork and put it in the oven!
- It’s great to have the puréed squash at the ready. Not only is it delicious on its own, but it can be used in all sorts of recipes.
What does it taste like?
When cooked, the flesh of the Butternut squash is tender and creamy, with mild sweet, nut-like flavor. It’s very similar to pumpkin.
When is Butternut Squash Season?
While you can likely find them throughout most of the year, peak season is fall through winter.
How to Roast Butternut Squash
– Put a whole butternut squash on a sheet pan, and pierce it a few times with a fork.
– Place it in a 400°F oven, and roast until it’s soft to the touch, about an hour and 45 minutes (for a approximately 4 pound squash). It should be turned over in the middle of the cooking time. The skin will be somewhat wrinkled with some charred areas.
– Once it’s cool enough to touch, cut the stem end off.
– Slice the roasted squash in half lengthwise.
– Use a large spoon to gently scoop out the seeds and membranes.
They should come out quite easily.
Keep the seeds — just like those from a pumpkin, they can be roasted and seasoned. Just put them in a fine mesh strainer and rise them, removing any of the squash membranes that might be stuck.
(More detailed instructions are below.)
Delicious butternut squash recipes:
- Chai Spiced Butternut Squash Pie
- Roasted Butternut Squash Gingerbread
- Roasted Butternut Squash Sage Butter
- Spiced Chicken-Butternut Squash “Lasagna”
- Roasted Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili
Whole Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 approximately (4 pound) whole butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 400°F, adjust a rack to the lower third, and place a whole butternut squash on a baking sheet. Pierce it just a few times with a fork. Don’t do anything else!
- Once the oven is preheated, place the baking sheet with the squash in the oven, and roast until it’s soft to the touch, about 1 hour, 45 minutes. After the first 45 minutes, turn it over and you should check on it every 20 minutes or so. When it’s done, the skin will be somewhat wrinkled with some charred areas, and some golden brown spots.
- Let the squash cool so you’re better able to handle it. Then cut the stem end off.
- Slice it in half lengthwise. Be careful because it’s still hot, a lot of steam will release at this point.
- Use a large spoon to gently scoop out the seeds and membranes. (Keep the seeds — just like those from a pumpkin, they can be roasted and seasoned. Just put them in a fine mesh strainer and rise them, removing any of the squash membranes that might be stuck.)
- Gently scoop the soft flesh out of the skin.
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