This recipe got started like so many of my favorites do: from Real Simple magazine. I have gotten that magazine since 2006, and although I do not have as much time to sit down and read it as I used to, I always, always, always check out the food section in the back. Without fail.
This recipe came from an issue last fall, in a sidebar or something about easy ways to eat butternut squash. I like regular squash, so I thought I would give this a go. I made it for B, and we both really liked its sweet, spicy flavor. But it really gained momentum when I went home for Christmas. Dad cooked a big beef tenderloin on the grill, and I was in charge of the side dishes. Among them was this. And everyone LOVED it. It was both of my parents' favorite side dish. They couldn't get over it.
So when I found pre-cut butternut squash in the veggie case at Trader Joe's (my mecca) this Sunday, I was all for it. Especially since the whole ones are REALLY difficult to cut (especially when, like my parents, you have knives that wouldn't cut hot butter). I definitely thought we needed to indulge in this fall treat this week, and after a busy day yesterday, it seemed just the thing.
The recipe is one of those infuriating ones with absolutely no actual measurements - but the good news is that you can add ingredients to suit YOUR tastes (not mine, or the nice folks at Real Simple). It's also VERRRY easy. Tonight, we served it with chicken with Cackalacky sauce and mashed potatoes. Here is a pic before it went into the oven:
And here's a pic when it came out. Admittedly, this was not my best go at this. I learned (the hard way) that you need to mix your squash pieces with butter so it's well-coated. THEN put the toppings and spices on it, and don't mix after that. Otherwise, all the good gooey-ness ends up on the bottom of the pan where it burns and causes a lot of smoke and you have to open the kitchen window and the front door and then the dog nearly runs out the door and...anyway.
Try it yourself, change it up, add or subtract ingredients, go nuts. And above all, leave feedback - let me know if it works or not!
Spicy-sweet butternut squash
Butternut squash, cubed (or pre-cut squash cubes, whatever)
Pecan pieces (or just plain pecans, however you prefer them)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh rosemary (we use dried oregano if we don't have fresh rosemary)
Pour butter over squash and toss to coat well. Put rest of toppings on top, in quantities of your choice (I like a lot of spice, fyi). Bake at 375 degrees until the squash is tender (typically around 20-25 minutes). Enjoy! Happy fall, y'all!