It is that time of the year again when streets are paved with fallen leaves and trees are blazing beautifully. An old season has closed and now comes a new one and you know that means a change on your everyday life including food. One of the most popular autumn favorites is butternut squash. Exactly, how do you cook butternut squash? The most basic ways are roasting, steaming, and sautéing. We will show in further details how each is done. If you are planning to include this on your Thanksgiving spread, read along and get the perfect butternut squash dish for your family.
Leaning the Basics
First things first. Before you get your hands on more complicated cooking experiments, you need to learn how to prep butternut squash for further cooking. Whether it will be roasted, steamed, baked, or sautéed, the most basic step is peeling. We got you covered with these easy steps:
- Remove the ends of the butternut squash – the tips of the neck and the base.
- Cut the fruit in half crosswise. Depending on the size and toughness, you may need to use a bigger knife for slicing. Sometimes, a mallet is needed to pound through the knife for extra pressure.
- Cut each half into further halves.
- You will see that the insides of each are lined with seeds. Scoop these out using a spoon.
- Remove the skin with a sharp paring knife. Peeling the skin vertically proves to be the easiest technique. A sharper-than-average vegetable peeler may do the trick sometimes but again, it depends on the toughness of the fruit.
How to Roast Butternut Squash?
Miss that zesty and herby smell of butternut squash freshly roasted from the oven? You won’t once you learned this technique. Roasted butternut squash can be a standalone dish or it can be a preliminary to an even bigger recipe. How do you cook butternut squash by roasting? Simple. Here are two ways of doing it:
Roasting halved butternut squash – This is the most common initial cooking method for making squash soup, mashed sidings, or creamy sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 400 ֯F.
- Very thoroughly, wash the skin surface of the butternut squash.
- Remove both tips of the fruit from the neck and the base. And here’s the fun part, skip peeling the skin.
- Cut lengthwise in halves. Scoop out the seeds.
- Brush the cut sides of the squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. You may go all out by sprinkling your favourite kitchen herbs.
- Roast in the oven for about 35 minutes to an hour. The time depends on the size and texture of the fruit. You will know it’s tender enough when you can prick it easily with a fork or any piercing object.
- Remove cooked butternut squash from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
- Whether it will be mashed or pureed later on or even eaten as is, separate the flesh from the skin by scooping it out using a spoon.
Roasting sliced or cubed butternut squash – This is typically eaten on its own or as an ingredient to another recipe like salad.
- Preheat the oven to 375 ֯F.
- Peel butternut squash.
- Slice the fruit into 1-inch cubes or depending on preference.
- On a baking pan lined with a baking sheet, toss sliced butternut squash, pepper, and salt. Depending on your preference, you may incorporate additional flavors, herbs and spices here.
- Before popping in the oven, arrange each piece on a single layer to allow even heating.
- Toss in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes. Test for doneness by pricking a piece or two with fork or by checking if the color turned golden orange.
How to Steam Butternut Squash
Without kicking up the flavors with some sauces and herbs, it’s considerably a chore to eat bland steamed butternut squash. Thus, this technique is typically done if you will mash or puree it on its next life to make sauces, juice, or other side dishes. Here are the steps on how to do it:
- Peel butternut squash and slice into 1-inch cubes
- Bring to boil 1-2 inch amount of water on a steaming pot.
- Once boiling, arrange the cubed pieces of squash on the steaming pan.
- Cook for about 15 minutes until it becomes tender. Heat longer if the texture is still tough after 15 minutes. Check for doneness by fork test.
- Drain excess water after cooking. If you want it mashed or pureed, the best time to do so is now when it is still hot from the stove so you can also easily expel water inside.
How to Sauté Butternut Squash
Another simple way of creating a standalone dish using this fruit is to do the traditional sautéing method. Here are the basic steps on sautéing butternut squash.
- Peel butternut squash and cut into cubes.
- On a stovetop, place the skillet on medium heat.
- Put oil on a warn pan and spread to coat all surface. Bring to heat.
- Toss the sliced fruits on the pan. If possible, avoid stacking one on top of the other for even heating.
- When the bottom turns light brown or slightly charred, turn so the other side will be cooked.
How do you cook butternut squash without making it flat and soggy? The key is to keep an eye on the heating temperature and cooking time so it’s not overcooked. Don’t be afraid also to try different sauces, herbs and other ingredients that will brighten your dish. Sautéing with garlic and onion is our favourite pick as it gives your meal an Asian vibe especially when coupled with soy-based sauce.
Why Choose Butternut Squash
The above-mentioned steps are just backbones of cooking butternut squash but actually, you can come up with multiple ways to transform it into exciting dish. This celebrity fruit of autumn is already part of the culture that your Thanksgiving table won’t be complete without it. If you’re running out of ideas on how to make your party extra special, remember that butternut squash is among the many raw materials that can make the difference.
What’s more, butternut squash is a healthful food dense in various nutrients especially vitamin A. Becoming healthy does not mean depriving yourself of delicious foods. The key is to just be informed and creative!