It is my favorite of the squashes, but we’ve had some ups and downs. Two years ago I had a rather prolific butternut squash plant and I had to become creative. I got a little butternut burn-out that fall. I didn’t plant it again last year…or this year. But I was given a couple, I’ll let them keep the plant and the headaches that come with finding homes or uses for 3 dozen butternut squash, I’ll just take a squash or two, thank you very much.
Today I’m cooking up a couple different butternut recipes. Well, actually one is a butternut recipe and one’s a pumpkin recipe. I have successfully, and usually undetectably, substituted butternut squash for pumpkin in quite a few recipes. I’ve even made “pumpkin” pie with it.
My favorite thing to do with butternut squash is bake with it….but first you must roast it. Split it in half top to bottom, oil the cut sides and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. The flesh will be soft and the skin will easily pull off. After they’ve cooled enough to handle, slip the skins right off and puree in the food processor. I like to portion it (1 3/4 cups equals one can of pumpkin) and freeze it for later use. But be sure you set enough aside to make this:
Downeast Maine “Pumpkin” Bread
adapted from this recipe at Allrecipes.com
* 1 3/4 cups butternut squash puree
* 4 eggs (I used 5 because mine tend to be smaller than the store bought eggs)
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup applesauce
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
* 2 cups white flour
* 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
This is the moistest and most delicious quick bread ever! I made it healthier than the original by using part WW pastry flour and applesauce for some of the oil and it’s still fantastic.
I have another creative recipe for butternut squash courtesy of Rachael Ray. This was initially a desperate attempt to rid myself of some squash back when I was drowning in it, but it’s actually really delicious.
Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
* 1 pound macaroni with lines, such as tubatini or mini penne rigate
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 medium onion
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 cups chicken stock
* 1 (10 ounce) box frozen cooked butter nut squash, defrosted
* 1 cup cream or half-and-half
* 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar, grated
* 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, eyeball it
* Black pepper
Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente or, with a bite to it.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand held grater or Microplane. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes. Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth. Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.
Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce.
I like to put this in a casserole dish and top with bread crumbs and more cheese and bake for a few minutes. You’d never know it had squash in it. It doesn’t have squash flavor but the puree gives you a nice rich, creamy sauce.