My first attempt at butternut squash was five days after my arrival in New York. Katie and I had spent a wonderful day exploring the New Museum, and were winding our way through the Union Square Farmer’s Market picking up goods for dinner. This being mid-October, there was an overflowing bounty from which to choose. We ended up in conversation with a squash peddler, and before we knew it, we were taking home our first squash with specific instructions straight from the source: Cube it, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and stick it in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. That sounded short, but being novice cooks ourselves, who were we to question the man who grew the squash HIMSELF.
Needless to say, the squash was less than perfect, but dinner was saved by some sausages and quinoa, two items you rarely find alongside one another.
It wasn’t until almost a year later that I tried the b-nut again, this time to go along with the Columbus Day Roast Chicken. This go-round, I added plenty of cooking time, but a lack of sharp knives and an abundance of impatience caused me to forgo cubing in favor of halving. The larger pieces of squash still needed more time, and again, I found myself in a hot kitchen with nothing to show for it but some almost inedible hunks of squash.
But then, it happened.
A confluence of time, patience, and sharp knives. Or the discovery of pre-cubed squash at Key Foods. Maybe a little of both? Some sliced onions. A 350 degree oven. Olive oil, salt, pepper, and if you’re feeling spicy, a dash of Sriracha. Tossed together, spread out on a baking sheet. 30 long minutes. But the result is oh so good. Tender, carmelized pieces of squash, tangled up with onions sharing those same characteristics. You must try it.
But then I got greedy. I wanted more from my squash. I could roast it all day long, but really, with a little time and instruction, who couldn’t? I wanted soup. And for some reason there always seems to be about three gallons of stock in my freezer. I followed my standard roasting procedure, sauteed some onions in the pot instead of cooking them with the squash, and blended it all together with the stock (I use chicken, I’m sure veggie would work just fine). Season to taste (I usually do salt, pepper and cumin), and toss it all back in the pot to heat to your desired temp. Of course this would all be much easier and smoother with an immersion blender (hint to anyone who wants to buy me a birthday present next month…), but still, delish. Easy, healthy-ish, and highly recommended.