We love butternut squash all year round, but it’s not the easiest vegetable to prepare. When Thanksgiving rolls around and every burner of your stove is being used at once, the idea of pealing and chopping this tough gourd can seem daunting. I make the purée in advance when the squash is in season, then I freeze it in 2 cup portions in vacuum sealed bags.That way I always have some on hand ready to serve within minutes. 2 cups of squash will serve about 4 people, so scale the recipe as necessary when cooking for a larger crowd.
I’ll give you a very easy method for cooking the squash and making the purée as well as my favorite way to prepare it. You can also use the method I described for making pumpkin purée in my Pumpkin Pie recipe if you prefer. By the way, pumpkin and squash purées are interchangeable in any recipe. Try using squash the next time you make a pumpkin pie. It’s delicious! And no one will no the difference. Also, you can use any type of winter squash – butternut, red kuri, blue hubbard, etc.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups puréed squash
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup, preferably grade B
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Thoroughly rinse the squash and pat dry. Cut into chunks small enough that you can fit all pieces in a 2-quart, microwave safe, covered casserole dish. I can usually get away with quartering the squash lengthwise, then cutting each quarter in half.
- Arrange the pieces in the casserole dish. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover.
- Microwave on high for about 12 minutes, then allow to sit undisturbed for 5 more minutes to allow the residual steam to finish cooking the squash.
- Carefully remove from the microwave - the dish will be very hot, so use potholders! - and test for doneness by piercing the squash with a fork. If it is still too firm, microwave for an additional 5 minutes.
- Drain the excess water, then use a spoon to carefully remove the flesh from the rind. It will separate very easily now.
- Mash the squash thoroughly. Depending on the smoothness you prefer, you can use a potato masher, a handheld mixer, or a stick blender. You can also throw the cooked pieces into your food processor to get a really smooth texture. It is entirely based on your personal preference, though I highly recommend the food processor if you're preparing the squash as baby food.
- If you prepared the purée in advance, reheat it until it is very hot.
- Whisk in the butter until it is melted.
- Add syrup, salt, and pepper, and whisk until incorporated.
- Taste for sweetness and seasoning, and adjust as necessary.
- Serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.