Winter squash is in season right now, and this simple recipe is an easy way to enjoy it's mild taste. With a bit of seasoning and a quick roast, you can coax the delicate sweetness of squash into a rich tasting side dish, making it perfect for Thanksgiving. The butter develops a nutty taste when it browns, which nicely complements the spices and the maple syrup.
Look for small squash because they cook more evenly than large squash, and half of a small squash is the perfect serving size.
Brown Butter Winter Squash
(adapted from leitesculinaria.com)
2 small (about 1 pound each) winter squashes, such as butternut or acorn
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
Kosher salt/freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal chunks
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon each cinnamon, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, ground ginger
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in middle position.
Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully cut each squash in half lengthwise, then scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. Lightly brush both the curved and cut sides of the squash halves with the oil. Season the cut sides generously with salt and pepper, and place the squash, cut-side down, on the baking sheet.
Roast the squash until nearly tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully turn each one cut-side up, with a spatula.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a small pan over low heat. Stir in syrup and spices, and then remove from the heat. When squash is turned cut-side up, add the seasoned butter to the cavities, dividing evenly. Continue to roast the squash halves until the butter begins to brown lightly, 5-10 minutes.
Using a sturdy spatula, carefully transfer the squash to individual plates. Serve at once.