No, seriously this butternut squash was enormous. Usually I deal with squashes that are about 2 pounds or so. This one weighed in at a whopping 6 pounds 15 ounces!
Needless to say it was a bit of a beast to deal with, but the end result was totally worth it. I think the best options are: 1) Microwave the squash for a minute or 30 seconds at a time until the squash is just soft enough to get a large knife through it. or 2) Get a large pot and fill it with water and place the squash in it and bring the water to a boil for four minutes or so.
Once I got the squash so the peel was just soft enough to deal with, I lopped off both ends. Then I took my vegetable peeler and peeled the squash. At this point, with a normal squash, you would just begin by cutting it down the middle lengthwise and scooping out the seeds (you may need to microwave the squash for 30 seconds at a time until your knife can cut through it more easily).
However, with this particular squash I had to cut it into more manageable pieces. Then I scooped out the seeds and worked to cut the squash into 1/2″ to 2/3″ cubes. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.)
With a squash of this size, I knew I could use it for more than one recipe, so I measured out 2 pounds for my first dish and then put the remaining squash in the fridge to use later.
I realize that this is a lot of work, so I wouldn’t hold it against anyone to buy peeled, cubed butternut squash if you can find it in the grocery store, but it is more expensive and this way you have quality control.
I love butternut squash, so I was excited to try out a few recipes here that feature it. Give them a go and let me know what you think.
Recipe #1: Penne with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese
I was sold the instant I saw this recipe had goat cheese in it, oh yeah, and butternut squash. I have grown to really love goat cheese, and I am always happy to find a way to use it in cooking.
Once you get the butternut squash peeled and cubed, this recipe is a breeze to make and is so ridiculously good it should be illegal. Well, not really, but it’s good! You end up roasting the squash until it’s tender along with an onion and then combine it with the penne, goat cheese, and basil and toasted walnuts. How awesome does that sound?! Plus the dish is fresh and pretty healthy aside from the cheese and a drizzle of olive oil for roasting…can’t beat that!
This is another dish by the amazing Giada de Laurentiis, who has yet to let me down with her recipes! Click here for the step by step instructions and recipe. Yum!!
Recipe #2: Healthy Macaroni and Cheese:
In case you can’t tell, I’m a fan of macaroni and cheese, with this recipe being the second version of the classic that I’ve cooked on my blog this year. But once I read this recipe on Tasty Kitchen’s site I was too intrigued not to try it. The “healthy” part of the dish is the fact that no butter or cream is used in the cheese sauce and instead, the base of the mac ‘n cheese consists of pureed butternut squash.
To this base you add your cheeses, mix it with your pasta, and bake. It’s that easy. Now let’s talk about the taste. With a squash base, you aren’t going to have the super creamy, classic macaroni and cheese. But it’s such an interesting twist to this pasta dish because you can taste the butternut squash but it still feels like you are indulging in this lovely meal.
This is a great dish to serve kids and vegetable haters to sneak in those good for you foods like squash. Give it a try and you may just see mac ‘n cheese in a new way!
Click here for the step by step instructions and recipe.
Recipe #3: Stewed Apples
I was planning on stopping at the above two recipes, but I had leftover squash from this monster of a butternut squash and was trying to think of what else to do with it. I was watching 5 Ingredient Fix with Claire Robinson (love her and that shows!) on the Food Network and saw her cooking this recipe and I just had to try it.
I’m so glad I did. It was basically like an elevated applesauce with chunks of apples and butternut squash. Plus the whole house smelled like cinnamon and apples as it cooked…delicious! This dish would be awesome with pork of just about any kind (and no, I’m not just saying that because I was raised on a hog farm). Pairing it with chicken would be great as well.
These stewed apples are a perfect side, so do yourself a favor and make this dish. I promise you that kids will love this too…I know I would have loved it as a child. So very happy I took a chance on this recipe!
Check out the recipe and step by step instructions here.