Ironically, winter squash are actually grown during the summer, just like summer squash. Why the name then? Mostly because their firm flesh allow winter squash to be stored throughout the winter season. Good, because I bought a lot this year!!
Sadly, that firm flesh becomes the biggest obstacle to preparing these lovely vegetables and is probably the reason people don’t eat more of them. Too bad, because they have a very diverse nutrient profile and, more importantly, taste really good! Once you get past the technical difficulties of cutting them open, all it takes is a simple roasting in the oven to get to its lusciously soft flesh. If you also roast it with a simple dressing of salty butter and sweet orange marmalade, you are rewarded with a perfect blend of so much winter goodness!
Roasted Winter Squash with Buttery Marmalade Recipe
- 2 Tbsp. salted butter
- 2 Tbsp. orange or other citrus marmalade
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Cut the winter squash in half, remove seeds and strings, and if larger, cut each part in half again. You want your pieces to sit skin down on a shallow roasting pan with enough of a cavity to hold the juices that will form while it bakes. The seeds** can be prepared just like pumpkin seeds for an additional treat! The leftover scooped out material is perfect for the compost.
**The seeds can also be saved for your garden and will likely produce the same kind of squash given that most farmers grow them in large enough fields that cross pollination with other varieties of squashes is unlikely. But hey, you might get something really tasty either way! Seeds you don’t want to grow or eat can still be composted, just put them in a heat proof bowl and pour boiling water on them to prevent them from sprouting in your garden. The entire watery mess can then be added to the compost pile once it has cooled.**
Place the butter and marmalade together in either a small pot or a microwave safe bowl. Heat together until the butter is just melted. Place about 1/2 tsp. of the mixture into each cavity and smear it all over the exposed flesh with the back of a spoon.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for roughly 40 minutes. Thinner squashes will cook faster than thicker ones, so if you have something like butternut squash you may need another 20 minutes. The flesh should be soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork. I usually serve the squash straight from the pan and everyone scoops the flesh away from the skin with a fork or spoon. Oh yeah, the skins can go in the compost, too! Enjoy!