Baking Butternut Squash

I love making butternut squash this way because it reminds me of my mother-in-law, Elaine, who makes this dish for most holidays using fresh squash from her beautiful garden.  It’s so easy, you can make it way in advance and it adds great color to your plate.  With this recipe, you get to avoid all of the chopping and peeling involved in most winter squash recipes.

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Instructions: Preheat oven to 375.  Using a large kitchen knife, cut a few slits into the top of the squash.  (This will allow the squash to breathe during the cooking process.)  Place squash on baking sheet and bake, turning the squash every 30 minutes or so, as sides begin to get soft and start to collapse a little.  The total cooking time will depend on how big the squash is.  Don’t worry if it starts to look like it’s burning on the skin.  That won’t affect the final product.

Once all sides are soft (about 60 or 90 minutes) remove from oven and let cool.  Cut squash in half.  Remove seeds, then scoop out the meat of the squash and put in bowl.  (It will be more like a puree consistency.)  Cover with saran wrap until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, reheat squash in microwave.   You can add a variety of ingredients to your squash.  Personally, I think it’s delicious plain.   Other variations include:

Sweet Butternut Squash: 2 Tablespoons butter and 4 Tablespoons brown sugar

Savory Butternut Squash: 4 Tablespoons parmesan cheese and 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper

This is great dish for the holidays because you can make it the day before so it’s one fewer side dish to worry about on the actual day you’re entertaining and it won’t take up space in the oven.

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