I like to think of this recipe as foundational–butternut squash puree doesn’t really stand on its own all that well. It makes a good side dish, but you can’t exactly down a bowl of it and call it a meal (late night snack, maybe).
However, now that I’ve worked out the kinks, I have a lot of grand ideas for things I’m going to do with this stuff. Also, I should mention that recipes which require you to consult other recipes to in order to prepare an ingredient excite me.
The first time I made this, I served it in the skin with ham on the side (or maybe the squash was on the side–I couldn’t tell because it was a bit much and the squash took way longer than I thought it would so the timing was all wrong and it wasn’t really the best night). This time, I decided to scoop the flesh out and adjust the seasoning, which I think made it a bit tastier and far easier to eat.
You prep the squash by covering it with butter and seasonings and toss it in the oven for a while. As I mentioned above, the result makes a decent side dish, but I think it’ll be an even better foundation. I have plans in the works for a twist on lasagna, as well as some sort of muffins. You could also use the puree for a stew. It would even make a good spread for a hearty fall sandwich.
But enough about what you can do with it. Here’s how you make it:
Butternut squash puree
- 1 butternut squash
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- ground cloves
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice off the top and bottom of the squash with a sharp knife, then halve it right down the center. Warning: these babies aren’t easy to cut into. I recommend a good chef’s knife and maybe scoring the outline of your cut before really sticking the knife in.
- Use a spoon to remove the seeds and stringy flesh from the bottom part of the squash. Discard.
- Arrange squash flesh-sides up in a baking dish or a foil-covered cookie sheet with sides. Place butter pieces all over the flesh of the squash, including in the cavity where the seeds were.
- Sprinkle with brown sugar and spices to taste.
- Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
- Allow squash to rest for about 5 minutes after removing from the oven, then use a spoon to scoop all flesh from the skin. Place flesh in a heat-proof bowl.
- Use a potato masher or fork to mash the squash. It should be about the consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve hot or save for other culinary experiments.
PS: There’s a bonus prize for the first commenter who spots the inconsistency in my photos.
UPDATE: Try this mixed in with oatmeal. It’s like fall in a bowl.