In Season: Roasted Butternut Squash

 Winter squash is one of my favorite parts of fall.  The orange, yellow, tan and green squash all piled up at the farmers markets  just sing autumn.  As the air gets crisper, I’m also happy to turn on my oven, whereas in summer you won’t catch me heating it up for almost any reason!  What perfect timing since winter squash is the ultimate veggie for roasting. 

Unlike summer squash (which include zucchini), winter squash are heavy in weight,  have hard skins and a lot of seeds.  They are also much denser than their summer sisters and require longer cooking times.  The most common varieties of winter squash are acorn, butternut, spaghetti, and turban.  Winter squash do not need to be refrigerated before being cut and can be stored in your pantry for up to a few weeks.  In addition to being delicious, they are also quite healthy and are high in vitamins A and C, plus are a good source of iron and riboflavin. 

Butternut squash is one of my favorites, and needs little embellishment.  Just peel, seed, chop and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  You can also add fresh or dried herbs;  thyme and sage go particularly well with this variety.  Pop into your oven for about 30 minutes (longer for large pieces) and you have a gorgeous, delicious, healthy dish, perfect for the fall season.  It also makes a super-simple side for your Thanksgiving table!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Thyme

Serves 4

 1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeded (approximately 2.5 lbs)

5-6 sprigs fresh thyme ( or 1 tablespoon dried)

olive oil

salt + pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Dice the peeled squash into 1 inch cubes and toss with   1-2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.

Using your fingers to hold the top end of the thyme sprigs, pull your thumb and forefinger of your other hand backwards down the stem to release the leaves.   Toss with the squash and spread out onto a baking sheet lined with tin foil (for easy clean-up).

Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender.  Serve hot.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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