Sunday, September 13, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash Puree

Welcome to Butternut Squash 101. While the days are still in the high 80s/low 90s, the nighttime chill is enough to tell me that fall is almost here. And the arrival of butternut squash in the markets is another telltale sign of autumn.

We get a lot of mileage out of winter squash here. In addition to being a nutritional powerhouse, its versatility is almost endless. Not to mention that the girls love the sweet taste and the bright color. And it's pretty cool to eat pumpkin!

Here's a good way to stock your freezer with some pureed butternut squash. It'll come in handy later in the season when you want to make pumpkin pies (sorry Libby's - this is so much more tasty), pasta sauces and soups.

Carefully cut the neck of the squash from the bulbous base. Does that read as weird as it does to write? Seriously though, watch your fingers. In our part of the world buttnernuts are huge. Their mini American counterparts are so....cute and dainty. If you're using the smaller version, you might want to roast 2 or 3 at a time.

Once lopped off, save the upper portion for later in the week, like me. I'll post a recipe using it. Again, carefully cut straight through from top to bottom.

Deseed with a spoon. In a post a while back on bean sprouts, I wrote that almost any seed can be sprouted. Apparently even pumpkin seeds while still in utero.

Here are your two halves, deseeded and depulped.

Next, line a roasting pan with foil. You'll be very glad you did because as the squash cooks, it caramelizes and the caramelized bits, when cooked for too long will get black, puffy and smoky. Let's just say I'll sleep better now that I know that my smoke alarm works as it should.

Coat the inside of each half lightly with olive oil.

Flip them outside up.

And pop them in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour until they look like this but before you set your smoke alarm off. It's a fine line. Not really, I just got sidetracked.

Let them cool for a bit and once you can handle them, turn them over and scoop out the flesh. The smell is out of this world good.

Scoop the flesh into a food processor and whiz until smooth.

When the puree is fully cooled, put it in a ziploc bag and toss in the deep freeze until you are ready to whip up something delicious and healthy.

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