Apr 5, 2015

The Fruit That Thinks It's A Vegetable

Butternut squash is actually a fruit, and is considered a "superfood", high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory compounds. It can be roasted, toasted, puréed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins. Everybody loves its rich sweet taste, even kids. Butternut squash is actually grown here in Hawaii, but my guess is that the kabocha squash is the most popular squash in this state due to the Filipino population here. I like them both, they both have a natural sweetness, but the kabocha squash has a dryer mouth feel than butternut squash, that's why I like butternut best. This is my favorite way to cook it:

Easy Roasted Butternut Squash
This is the best way, in my opinion, to cook this fruit/vegetable because the squash has a chance to caramelize leaving this heavenly semi-sweet flavor, plus it helps that it is also easy to make.

one small butternut squash, enough for two people to eat
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
2 pinches of cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Ok, this is the hardest part, slicing the butternut squash in half lengthwise with a hefty knife (see photo above). Just be careful not to cut yourself, because this fruit is tough. After you have achieved this task, remove the seeds and other slimy stuff with a soup spoon and your fingers (save the seeds to roast if you like, see note below). Place the two halves, cut-side up, on a small roasting pan lined with foil. Put one tablespoon of butter into each cavity. Sprinkle each half with a tablespoon of brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and sea salt to taste and that's it. Now wasn't that easy?

All you have to do now is roast it in a 425˚F oven for about 50 minutes to an hour, or until the flesh is fork-tender. Makes two servings.

Note: This simple side dish is wonderful cooked with my "Rosemary Pork Ribs" (see recipe index), or with roast chicken, cornish game hens, or even pork belly, and it makes a nice change from sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. One other thing, the seeds can also be roasted if combined with one teaspoon of vegetable oil per cup of seeds in a 375˚F oven. Place the seeds, spread out, on a baking sheet, stirring every 5 minutes, until seeds are aromatic, crisp, and browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt, and toss to combine. To make a delicious butternut squash soup, check out this recipe.

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