So, we made that lovely winter squash and white bean soup last week. And since then, I’ve had a giant butternut squash inhabiting the vegetable compartment of my refrigerator. It’s a little intimidating, actually, opening up your fridge and facing that much root vegetable. What to do with it? I’ve never really cooked winter squash, and I was at a loss.
What do Chris and I do in situations like this? We turn to our good friend, Mark Bittman, and his book How to Cook Everything. While his isn’t necessarily the book I go to for recipes, it’s been the most valuable book for general “how in the world do I deal with ______?” questions. How to get the flesh from a mango. How to clean and chop leeks. How long to cook corn on the cob. And now, how to prepare a giant hunk of butternut squash.
His suggestion? Purée. And so, we did. Served with some herbed, oven-roasted chicken and Alton’s stuffing (but that’s another show…), this squash was wonderful. It was rich and silky-smooth, and complemented the meal perfectly. And, best of all, because it was getting all mashed up, I didn’t need to worry about making perfect little cubes! Mark Bittman offers a number of different suggestions on herbs, spices, and seasonings, but here’s what I did. It was quite tasty!
Puréed Butternut Squash
1 1/2 pounds (about half of a large squash), peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp sage
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1. Place the squash in a steamer above about 1 inch of water. Cover and cook until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. (Bittman suggests if microwaving, to place the squash and 2 Tbsp of water in a microwave-proof plate of shallow bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, shake the container, and continue to microwave at 2-minute intervals, until the squash is very tender.)
2. While it is still hot, place the squash in the container of a food processor with the butter, maple syrup, sage, and parsley; process until smooth. Taste and adjust salt as necessary.