This really is the easiest thing ever. I discovered its simplicity when I was roasting up my squash for this Butternut Mac and Cheese. I was going for the easiest and tiniest amount of prep possible since it was part of another recipe, but it ended up being SUUPPPAAA BOSS. I was close to just stopping and making it its own recipe right then and there, but I decided to wait and finish up the Mac and Cheese instead (which also turned out super tasty)!
So, in the past when I’ve made butternut squash, I’ve always peeled it and cubed it and roasted it in that form. It’s yummy that way, but it’s yummier and a whole heck-of-a-lot easier this way. Butternut squashes are one of those pain-in-the-butt veggies to peel and dice. They are hard and dense so it’s difficult to get your knife through. The peeling and dicing of butternut squash is actually quite the undertaking.
But thiiiiiiis squash……
All you do is slice it down the middle, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast!! It could not be easier.
Now, if I had intended from the start to make a stand alone squash recipe, I’m sure my fancy side would have kicked in and we would have like stuffed it with something, added brown butter, threw some more complex seasonings in before roasting, etc…but since this was initially just a base for another recipe, I wanted to keep the flavor pure, and it turns out that plain old roasted butternut squash don’t need no help. It is absolutely perfect on its own!
Especially when roasted this way, because it bakes cut side down, so the flesh of the squash is caramelizing against your baking sheet for about an hour, getting toasty and nutty and sweet and perfect.
And the fun thing about this squash is that it comes in its own pretty little serving dish. You just serve it as is and then scoop the soft, tender squash out with your fork right there!
There are a few keys here, though. Well, really just mainly one key: you’ve gotta make sure you roast it for long enough. It’s tempting to take it out at that initial 45 minute check point, but make sure you turn it cut side up, pierce it with a fork, and make totally sure that it’s very soft and tender before taking it out of the oven. I’ve made this a few times – once I took the squash out at 45 minutes because it felt tender enough to me, but when I ate it, it had a slightly stringy texture kind of like spaghetti squash and just a slightly under cooked flavor.
I still ate the whole thing (obvi), but the other times when I roasted it for the full hour, the squash was so tender it basically just melted in my mouth…heaven.
It is one of my all time favorite new veggie sides because of how CRAZY easy it is and how CRAZY delicious it is! I love those things that taste way too good to have been as easy as they are. It’s like cheating…cheating in the most delicious way ever.
P.S. This would be perfect-o for Thanksgiving! Slice each squash half in sections after it roasts so the portions aren’t so big, and serve it up along side dat turkey 😍!!