One of our favorite fall vegetables has to be acorn squash. These gorgeous squash are frequently used as an autumn centerpiece along with other ornamental squash. But to leave them there would be a shame! Simple to prepare, they are also a feast for your eyes and taste buds!
If you’ve never tackled these autumn beauties, the first go can be a bit daunting. Getting into them is actually not as hard as you would think. A large, sharp but sturdy cook’s knife is your key to unlocking the goodness inside.
Acorn squash are the perfect side to pair with most any meat, from pork to chicken and even a hearty beef tenderloin. Top these squash with the spice of ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg, add a bit of butter and some brown sugar. Don’t be afraid to get creative… Toss in chopped apples, currants or raisins and toasted nuts. This recipe is per squash, count on one squash for two people.
Roasted Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/8 freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
1/8 ground cinnamon
1/8 freshly ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon toasted chopped pecans
Rinse the squash and pat dry. Using a large, sharp knife insert the tip in the middle of the squash between one of the ridges, pointing the knife towards the end and away from you. Gently cut through the squash until it is almost cut into, but don’t worry about cutting through the stem. Remove the knife and pull the squash apart into two separate pieces.
Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds from the center of the squash. (Discard the seeds; don’t toss these down your disposal!)
In a baking dish, bunch up a piece aluminum foil for each half to create a “nest”; this will keep them from rolling around in the pan. Using the tip of a sharp knife gently prick each squash around the edges and center taking care not to pierce through the skin. In each half, add ½ tablespoon butter in the center then sprinkle the kosher salt, black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg around the edges and in the center. Place 1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/2 tablespoon toasted pecans in the center of each squash.
Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until the squash are very tender. Before serving, use a fork and carefully pull the flesh away from the skin, mixing the melted butter and brown sugar into the squash.
The acorn squash can be prepared in advance and reheated, covered at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Perfect when you need to plan ahead!