Winter squash is a wonderfully versatile vegetable, but can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with cooking it.
To use winter squash in recipes, roasting is a great way to get tender squash with deep flavor without the excess water that comes from boiling.
A few of the varieties of winter squash that you can choose from (pictured):
- pumpkins (smaller will be less stringy)
- butternut squash
- acorn squash
- delicata squash
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Wash the outside of the squash to remove any dirt. Dry.
- Cut squash in half using a large sharp knife. If your butternut squash is really large, or you do not have a large knife, you can cut the butternut squash in half crosswise first (right at the point where the neck begins) and then in half lengthwise. The narrower neck of a butternut squash does not have any seeds, just the rounder base.
- Remove seeds and stringy pulp from inside the squash. Save those seeds for roasting! They are the best part of the squash (Yes-you can roast squash seeds too, not just pumpkin seeds).
- Place squash cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush inside of squash halves with olive oil.
- Turn squash over, cut side down, on the baking sheet.
- Bake at 425°F for about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your squash or pumpkin. Check softness by turning squash over and piercing with a fork. The squash flesh should be soft, but not mushy.
- Cool 10-15 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Scoop flesh out of shell. Puree or dice for use in recipes. Squash is easily frozen in Ziploc freezer bags. Freeze in 1 cup portions (be sure to label your bags with how much of what kind of squash you put in them).
Recipes using roasted squash/pumpkins:
- 1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, pureed
- 2-1/2 pounds whole squash = about 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
- 1 large (15 to 20 pounds) pumpkin = about 5 quarts (20 cups) of cooked, pureed pumpkin
- 1 large butternut squash or 1 medium sugar/pie pumpkin = about 2-3 cups pureed