October 2nd, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash

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People keep threatening me about Portland winters. I won’t be able to deal with the gray or the cold or the rain. I’ll be driven mad by a runny nose and wet socks. I don’t know how to react to these threats, it reminds me of the little guy with the big mouth that always starts the fights. Do you have a bigger friend to back you up, like a hurricane or a tornado or a cyclone? Because I think I’m going to be fine. I think I’m going to have 6 months of soup weather and that is more than okay with me. If I get sick of it I’ll take a trip to California.*

Food tastes better on rainy days. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, in fact sometimes the simplest things are the best. Roasted butternut squash is like a big fluffy blanket on a wet autumn day. There’s certainly nothing wrong with just splitting the squash, seeding it and popping it in the oven. But when I’ve got the time I really loved to peel and cube it, this way the outside is crisp and toasty and the inside is creamy and sweet. You can sit back and pop these into your mouth as is, or serve with some tempeh and greens and maybe a hazelnut pesto. I also love to serve it for brunch in place of homefries, it tastes great alongside scrambled tofu.

I’m not actually going to write out a recipe with quantities and measurements, because really you can use the amount of butternut squash that you have. You’ll just need some squash, olive oil and salt. Preheat oven to 375 F. Peel the squash and divide the round part from the long part. Cut the round part in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice everything into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch pieces.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread squash out in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons for a 2 1/2 pound squash.) The single layer is important because if the baking sheet is overcrowded the squash won’t brown, it’ll steam and just get mushy. Sprinkle with salt (about 1/2 teaspoons) and use your hands to coat everything.

Pop in the oven for about 45 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes or so. They’re done when lightly browned on the outside and tender inside. They taste great right out of the oven, but honestly, they’re still good if you leave them out on the counter to snack on all day.

*Please don’t hold me to this when I am whining about the rain in 3 months.

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