The first time I had ever heard of a butternut squash, my family was discussing our favorite food ever.
I’m not talking about a recurring meal. Those are the favorite foods that you request for your birthday dinner or when you drive home from college. Those are dishes like homemade pizza with mom’s special sauce, broccoli potato casserole, and the cheese soup from Bible quiz meets (I’ll share this recipe someday). And they are good. Really good.
But this discussion was different.
In this particular conversation, the question was, what is the best meal you have EVER eaten? The single most wonderful dish you have EVER tasted?
Was it a specialty Italian pasta? Was it authentic Mexican on a missions trip? Was it an incredible meatloaf your roommate made smothered in a roasted red pepper sauce made from scratch? (This last one is definitely in my list of most wonderful dishes.)
My dad’s answer was a butternut squash soup with truffle oil.
He ordered it at a restaurant on a business trip many years ago, and it has been the best thing he has ever eaten for over a decade.
That means, in his last 11,000 meals or more, he has not found a dish that trumped that butternut squash soup with truffle oil.
That always confounds me. A soup? Really? The best thing he’s EVER eaten? And a soup made with SQUASH? He’s always been more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy.
But, because of his experience, I have always been intrigued by the butternut squash.
I had never tried it myself. So this week, I decided it was time.
Still on my quest for veggies, and thinking of my dad’s story, I purchased my very first butternut squash.
My sister, our family vegetarian, gave me some tips on cutting the squash. The bottom is rounder and contains seeds, like a pumpkin. She told me to cut the bottom off, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Then she recommended standing up the taller portion on the cutting board and peeling it with a knife instead of a peeler.
This prevents handling the slick surface of the peeled squash. I did the same with the rounded bottom after I scooped out the seeds.
Then I diced the squash up into beautifully orange cubes for roasting.
Then I added in oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, according to a recipe.
Unfortunately, the roasted squash did not turn out as hoped. It was both too salty and too peppery. I cut the squash into smaller pieces than the recipe called for, so it was done (in fact, overdone) in half the time.
For next time:
- I’ll use a dash or two of cayenne pepper, and no more than 1/2 tsp (table) salt.
- I’ll check the squash at 15 minutes and I’ll knock the oven temp down a little to prevent burning.
Though it was less than scrumptious this time, I think we’ll love roasted butternut squash when I get the spices and cooking time right. The texture and underlying flavor of the squash itself were excellent. I look forward to trying this again!
Does anybody have a great recipe for butternut squash? Has anybody tried a great butternut squash soup?
And what is the single most wonderful dish YOU have ever tasted?
Have a scrumptious day!