I think roasted butternut squash is one of the best things about autumn. That's why, if you live in the U.S., you'll see those bags of already peeled and cut butternut squash start to appear in stores at this time every year. In the past, I've confessed to buying pre-cut squash myself, even though I knew it couldn't possibly be as good as freshly cut squash. But the days when I'd pay premium prices for substandard squash changed when I discovered the Really Big Squash variety and started growing my own butternut squash. Now I had to master the slightly tricky process of cutting them up, and with practice I've gotten pretty good at it. If you've been a bit daunted by trying to cut up a hefty squash, here are some tips that can help you save money and get that garden-fresh squash flavor.
If you're buying your squash in the store, you'll probably get one that's shaped a bit different ly than this, since most butternut has a thin neck with a bulb-shaped end where the seeds are. The thicker neck is one reason I love the Really Big Squash. But whatever variety of butternut you have, start by cutting off the stem and blossom end of the squash.
Next cut the squash in half so you can scrape the seeds out. You'll need a bit of muscle on the knife to cut through the squash. If it's a particularly big squash you might want to cut it into quarters.
Feel around in your silverware drawer and get the most pointed and sharp spoon you can find to scrape out the seeds. Grapefruit spoons are great for this if you have them. Try to scrape off all the stringy material that's around the seeds.
The inside of the squash should look really clean like this when you're finished scraping the seeds out.
Now comes the part that's nearly impossible to do with a knife. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel away the skin in long strips. (The peeler in the photo is one made by Cutco that I got as a gift from my brother Dave and his wife Amy, and it was perfect for this.) I'm not too compulsive about removing every bit of those green stripes that are just under the skin, but if they bother you, just peel until they're completely gone.
Once all the squash pieces are peeled, cut into strips the width you want them for what you're making with the squash. For roasted squash, I try to make pieces that are slightly over an inch square.
Then turn the strips the other way and cut again to make pieces. Now that was really not so hard, was it? Here are some recipes ideas for ways to use those butternut squash cubes.
Butternut Squash Recipes from Kalyn's Kitchen:
Roasted Butternut Squash with Moroccan Spices
Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar
Roasted Butternut Squash with Lime and Rosemary
Foil-wrapped Grilled Butternut Squash with Sage
Beef and Butternut Squash Stew with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar
Some Butternut Squash Ideas from Other Blogs:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Butternut Squash and Parmesan Dip from The Kitchn
Butternut Squash Chili with Kale from Dani Spies
Roasted Butternut Squash and Onion Gratin from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Pork and Butternut Squash Stew from Christine Cooks
Want even more recipes?
I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.