Butternut squash may be considered winter-ish, but the season is really long, and you’d find it agreeable to the outdoor grill. Many ways to prepare, from soup to stir fry to mashers.
Picture yourself being asked what kind of actor Tom Hanks is. There are so many stellar adjectives, examples and mental images that you don’t know where to start.
That is what butternut squash is to the vegetable world.
Oh, there are lots of great, versatile veggies, but this one has some star qualities. Even though there are so many outlets for its talents, I occasionally find myself munching endlessly on the simply roasted nuggets without doing a single special thing to it. I’m not kidding… not even butter. Confession, though, I put sea salt of many different varieties on about everything I consume, so ‘salt’ goes without saying.
We’ll go through some of the happy collisions this veg has with other inputs… chicken broth for soup, ravioli wrappers, frizzled sage, brown butter. Kids may scrunch their nose at the word “squash” so just call it Butternut. Okay, some adults, too, because they may have had overcooked yellow or zucchini squash in the past, which is tasteless mush. Butternut frankly has little in common with those – neither flavor nor texture.
Already feeling inspired? This is your guide to adopting one of these little critters and taking it home. When you do, it won’t just sit on the counter, staring back at you. If you have a Sharpie handy, it’s a great veg to draw a face on.
I’ve picked three processes for you to choose from, and they’re presented from easiest to most entertaining (I never call it ‘work’). Save this post in whatever method you choose and vow to try each of the three. Eventually, we will entice you with other choices.
DNA-LEVEL BEAUTY SECRETS OF THE BUTTERNUT:
>>> 5 oz (about 1 cup, 140 g) has the following, according to www.NutritionalValue.org:
- Calories 63
- Fat 0
- Carbs 16 grams
- Protein 1.4 grams
WHAT YOU GET FROM A WHOLE SQUASH:
Here’s how a recent purchase worked out :
2 ½ lbs (whole) = 18 oz cooked squash, about 3 cups loosely packed.
The difference in weight is skin, stem, seeds and some water loss due to roasting.
A rough rule of thumb might be to take the weight and divide by about 2.5, or if you’re targeting volume measure, you get a bit more than ¾ cup cooked squash for each pound of whole squash. Volume measures usually mean packed into the cup, not fluffy with a lot of air pockets.
WAYS TO FIX:
Soup: click here for our recipe. (er, coming by April 1, 2022 !!)
Roasted, chunks: this is what you start with. Click here for a quick lesson for cooking and serving in a very tasty, simple way.
Roasted, smashed: the roasted chunks fork-processed. I’d stick with little chunks as listed above. Cilantro (pictured with it) pairs beautifully, of course, snipped fine and garnished just before serving.
Steamed: this is the approach if you want to make a casserole of mashers.
‘Noodles’: Butternut spirals are rather difficult to make in some spiral-cutters, but you can buy them already spiralized from the grocer. Then they really only need a bit of nuke and some butter.
Combined with other veg: the most likely combo is sauteed mushrooms
Ravioli filling: super delicious, served with brown butter and frizzled sage. Check back with us for our version or if you’re a Subscriber, you’ll get notified immediately.
HOW TO CUT A WHOLE BUTTERNUT SQUASH
In a recent historical fiction tv show (1700’s) the cook places a large towel on the floor, holds the butternut over her head and throws it down onto the towel, reducing it to uneven but quickly broken pieces. I haven’t tried that yet but am keen to one of these days when the dog is out of the house.
If you don’t have a sharp knife, cutting can be initially daunting, but follow my suggestions and PLEASE, if you sense you’re losing balance with the knife, slow down and think a bit. I’ve never cut myself in this process, but I sense it is possible.
Many grocers carry Butternut already cut (raw). The pre-cut version looks expensive, but remember, the stem, skin and seeds are gone. Try cutting it yourself at least once or twice.
In summary, once you get past the process of learning how to cut up a whole squash, you’ll find it an easy veg to work with, and we’ve found that everyone loves the flavor. If you’re serving friends or extended family, it’s okay to whine a bit about the prep… they’ll just take another bite and nod their heads.