Time to enjoy this prickly squash’s sweet side!
The idea for this recipe came from Nick Foster, the amazing chef who cooked my father-in-law’s birthday dinner while we were on vacation in England’s Lake District a few years back. What a treat! His food was fantastic and—more importantly—he served a veggie dish that I loved from the very first bite. (A rare event for me!) I didn’t recognize the dish, though, so I inquired about what it was.
Butternut squash roasted with cumin, he said.
And I was shocked.
At the time, you see, I didn’t know one could roast squash. (I was very vegetable-y naïve then.) Beyond that, I’d always thought of cumin spicing up a good chili or curry, not squash. This chef knows his stuff, though, because the warm flavor of cumin sings with butternut squash, and roasting squash chunks browns the edges to a gentle crisp while making the sweet flesh inside meltingly tender. The result? Squash morsels that taste a bit like sweet potato fries—only better.
So go ahead, befriend that beautiful beige butternut squash sitting on your counter. (Just don’t grab it by the stem!)
Roasted Butternut Squash with Cumin
(With general roasting guidelines gleaned from the roasted butternut squash recipe on the blog Kalyn’s Kitchen.) 11/13/12 UPDATE: This recipe has been edited to reduce the added oil, and I can promise you won’t miss it! Still tastes for all the world like butternut squash fries. Yum!
Prep time: 1 hour (20 minutes hands-on) Serves: 6
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds; will yield around 8 cups of ¾” cubes)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil cooking spray
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 450oF.
Preheat oven to 450oF.
Cut squash into ¾” cubes. (You want them as close as possible to the same size so they cook evenly.) I cut my squash into slices first, and then into chunks:
Toss squash cubes first with oilGive the cubes a quick spritz of cooking spray, toss, and then toss with cumin and salt. (Use more oil for richer squash.)
Spray two foil-lined rimmed baking sheets (or, if you’re me and still don’t have rimmed ones, two foil-lined cookie sheets) with oil. Arrange squash in a single layer.
Roast 30-40 minutes, turning every 15 minutes or so, until squash is tender and the edges of the chunks are a little browned. After the first 30 minutes, keep a close watch so the squash doesn’t burn.
Serve and enjoy!