Butternut squash is a versatile winter squash that can be used in a variety of recipes. The squash is often served mashed, cubed, pureed, or in a soup. It can be made into a savory dish with the addition of butter, salt, and pepper, or used in a sweet dish with brown sugar and maple syrup. There are several cooking methods to prepare butternut squash, such as roasting, baking, steaming, boiling, and microwaving. Before cooking, the squash may be peeled, and the seeds need to be removed.
The squash can either be cut in half and cooked with the skin on, or the skin can be removed and the squash can be cut into small pieces. In both cases, the seeds inside the squash should be removed and discarded before cooking. The skin of a butternut squash is not as tough as other winter squashes, so it can usually be removed with a paring knife.
One of the most popular ways to prepare butternut squash is to roast it in an oven. To roast the squash, the skin and seeds should be removed and the flesh should be sliced into uniform cubes. The squash should be lightly tossed with oil, seasoned, and placed in a hot oven to cook. This method requires the longest cooking time. Roasting squash brings out all of its flavor.
Baking is another method to prepare butternut squash. Cooking the squash this way is similar to roasting, but oil is not used. The squash can either be peeled and cut into pieces, or cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and placed with the flesh side down on a foil-covered baking sheet.
Steaming butternut squash can also be done in an oven. To prepare butternut squash in this manner, it should be cut if half lengthwise and the seeds should be removed. A small amount of water should be placed in a baking dish, followed by the halves of the squash. The dish should be covered tightly with foil, and the squash should be cooked until very tender.
Butternut squash can also be boiled in a pot of water until fork tender. This method requires the squash to be peeled and cut into small pieces. When the squash is done, the water should be drained. Boiled squash is often mashed or pureed.
Microwaving is one of the easiest ways to prepare butternut squash. When using a microwave, the squash can be left whole, with several puncture holes to let out steam, halved, or cut into cubes. It typically takes seven minutes per pound for butternut squash to cook in the microwave.