Thanksgiving side dish: caramelized butternut squash
This tender butternut squash is perfection and won't fail to delight on holiday tables.
I don’t often make a recipe exactly as written, because I am an opinionated cook and almost always have something to say about how something is to be made. This is one of the exceptions to that, however. Sure, there are plenty of other delicious butternut squash recipes out there with a myriad of things being done to them, but pound for pound, this is the most perfect, basic, totally flavorful recipe for winter squash that I have found. It is tender, lightly sweet, seasoned perfectly, and the caramelization sets my heart on fire.
Ina has made this most perfectly, and you can find this recipe, as well as many others, in her book The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.
You can use other winter squash in this if you like, but you will need to peel that and also chop it. Some of the other types of squash may have a slightly more watery texture. But will still work. I prefer butternut. It is also easier to peel.
Caramelized butternut squash
2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash. Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.
3. Cut the squash into 1-1/4- to 1-1/2-inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet.
4. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.
5. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly.
6. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.
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