Easy and Delicious Caramelized Butternut Squash
Do you need another side dish for Thanksgiving at your house or are you taking a side dish and aren’t sure what to make yet? Caramelized Butternut Squash may be just what you are looking for. I love all the beautiful fall colors on this plate. It is so festive. But it is also very quick to prepare, and tastes delicious.
One thing I did that made this so easy to prepare was to use a large round cookie cutter to make the circles of squash. That way you don’t have to peel it. But even if you don’t have a round cookie cutter, the nice thing is you only have to peel the top half of the butternut squash, and that goes very quickly. And the top half doesn’t have any seeds in it which makes it even better. Then all you do is add a few ingredients to softened butter, spread it on the slices, and put it in the oven for 25 minutes. You can buy already toasted or candied nuts to sprinkle on the top, and cranberries for garnish and you are done. Easy as pie. Well, pie is not really that easy, so easier than pie!
One thing I liked about this recipe is that it wasn’t overly sweet and you control how much cinnamon you add to the butter. I added only a couple sprinkles, so it didn’t seem like I was eating dessert at the dinner table. In fact, you almost couldn’t tell it was cinnamon. It just gave a feeling of childhood, fall, and comfort all at the same time kind of subconsciously. I guess I must have had cinnamon and butter somewhere in my childhood. Maybe it was my mom, using whatever means she could to get me to eat breakfast. She would add butter to every breakfast food known to man in order to get me to eat it. I never did like breakfast. Probably because it meant it was morning, and I was awake. I never did like waking up early in the morning. I wonder which came first, my love of butter, or my mom putting butter on everything I ate? One of the unanswerable questions of the universe. Maybe she should have made me caramelized butternut squash for breakfast. I think that might have just done the trick. So whether it is for breakfast, Thanksgiving, dessert, or dinner some night, I highly recommend making this recipe. It will give your family a memory to be thankful for!
Caramelized Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash (1 squash gave me 6 slices)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- ground cinnamon to taste (I used 2 shakes)
- 6 T unsalted butter, softened
- 1/8 to 1/4 c honey (or not quite 1/4 cup)
- 1 c candied pecans or walnuts (I used Trader Joe’s candied pecans)
- kosher salt, optional
- fresh cranberries for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut rounded bottom of squash off and save for another time.
- Peel rest of squash. Slice into 1/2 inch slices. (Or if you have a large round cookie cutter, you don’t need to peel squash. Just cut into 1/2 inch slices, and then use cookie cutter to make rounds).
- Place rounds on a paper towel to dry.
- In a medium bowl, add softened butter, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to mix.
- Slather butter mixture on all sides of squash slices with your fingers, and place in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet with a lip (so butter doesn’t drip off).
- Bake until tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle kosher salt on squash, if desired.
- Place squash rounds on a plate, and sprinkle candied nuts and cranberries over the top. Serves 4-6, depending on how big the squash is and how thick you cut it.
Recipe adapted from Phoenix Home & Garden magazine, November 2007, original recipe from Executive Chef Wade Moises of Sassi Ristorante