Neither Neil nor I have ever had butternut squash before. I didn’t really think I was missing anything but you know, there’s always room to expand your palate. And squash seems like something that everybody should be eating anyways. Also, in honor of October being Vegetarian Awareness Month, I felt that I should make something vegetarian. Because it’s not like I make that on a regular basis or anything, it’s Vegetarian Awareness Month silly.
When I went to Sprouts early in the week, it took all my willpower not to buy one of everything. Everything looked so fresh and beautiful and colorful! So I decided I would buy something new everytime. This week, it was butternut squash.
After doing some extensive research on the internet, I opted to roast whole halves of the squash and stuff it with couscous. Why? Because I can.
But really, I wanted to be able to taste the true squashyness of it without dousing it in excessive butter and brown sugar. What exactly is this butternut squash who I have been missing from my life these past 22 years??
To tell you the truth Mr. Internet, I think I might dice them and douse it in something next time. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, oh but I did, but I think it would be a nicer side dish than a stuffing platform.
Is that even a cooking term? “Stuffing platform”. Oh my.
There really isn’t a set recipe for this, there are so many different stuffings you could make and roasting it doesn’t really require a recipe so here’s a walk through on what to do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. This is a good place to start.
I always like to wash my vegetables fully. My mom taught me that and that is what I do.
Now lob off your squash’s head. And give a menacing laugh as you do it. Muhahaha.
Now you want to split the squash right down the middle. And holy balloon animals, this was quite hard to do. My knife got stuck halfway through!
Be persistent and wahoo! Success!
Now scoop out the seeds and that stringy stuff with a spoon. You can toast those or toss ’em. I tossed them today but I may try toasting them later on.
Ok, now that they’re nicely cleaned, set them on a foil lined baking sheet. I’m lazy and the foil catches all the remnants and makes cleaning so much easier. And you’ll see later on that for this particular dish it’s a very good idea to line your favorite sheet with foil!
Now drizzle the entire thing with some olive oil.
Sprinkle on some brown sugar and dot with a bit of butter. There’s about a tablespoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of butter on each half. I looked at some recipes that required total coverage of the squash half with brown sugar, but like I said, I wanted to keep it pretty close to the original flavor of the squash so I didn’t drown it in sugar.
Set in the oven and roast for anywhere from 35 minutes to 1 hour. I kept checking on it so mine took about an hour to roast completely. You’ll know it’s ready when a fork prick shows it to be tender.
Next, prepare your favorite stuffing mix. I made about two cups of couscous with a handful of fresh parsley and some oregano.
Remove your squash and scoop out the “flesh” from the long part of it. I put those bits right into my couscous mixture.
Do you see the black spots on the lower left hand corner of that picture? That’s the reason why you want to line your baking sheet! Some of the buttery sugary goodness ran off the squash and burned on the sheet. Can you imagine cleaning that?? I shudder at the thought.
Stuff your squash as desired and place it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or so. Just enough for your stuffing to become a little more incorporated with the squash and all the flavors to get to know eachother better. Remove and enjoy!