My son recently said that butternut squash is one of his top four foods. (His number one food is brussel sprouts and number two is peanut butter Cap’n Crunch cereal… you win some, you lose some.) Butternut squash grows abundantly up and down the east coast. My dad would grow so much of it when I was younger that we had enough to last us Thanksgiving to Easter. They seem to never go bad in a cool, dark place. This simple butternut squash with brown sugar is my favorite way to prepare this delicious veggie!
Whenever I serve butternut squash, my friends often confess that they are daunted by the awkward shaped squash with the tough skin. It is really not hard to prepare at all – once you do it a couple of times, it will seem like second nature.
How to prepare the squash: First, cut the squash at the “waist” – separate the top from the bottom. The bottom is full of seeds – scoop them out into the trash or your compost bin.
Depending on how big your squash is, sometimes I cut the top into two sections to make the “peeling” easier. I don’t actually “peel” the squash. Cut the ends off the squash so you can place it flat on your cutting board. Then, take a sharp knife and cut the thick skin off as close to the orange flesh as possible.
For the bulbous part of the squash, I cut this part into manageable sections so that I can cut off the skin of the squash with my knife. After the skin has been removed, chop the squash into 1 to 2 inch chunks.
How to cook: I always steam my butternut squash because it is easy. Put a steamer basket in the bottom of a large pot and put about an inch or two of water in the bottom. Toss the squash into the steamer basket, cover, and bring to a boil. Don’t let the water boil off! Steam for about 15 minutes or so – check the squash with a fork to see if it is done. You want the squash to be fork tender and easy to mash.
The final steps: Put the steamed squash in a large bowl. Add brown sugar and butter to taste … using a potato ricer or pastry blender, mash the squash. Taste test and add more sugar if necessary. I like to add a little sea salt and pepper at the end. Enjoy!