Monday, July 18, 2011

Smelly Orange Stuff

When I think of butternut squash, I think of a steaming heap of the alarmingly orange side dish that I am always eager to pass on during our Thanksgiving meal. Growing up has its perks - I get to sit at the adult table and I get to just say "no thanks" to suspicious looking foods. Usually, even the slightest whiff of mashed butternut squash has me backing up my chair so fast that it leaves skid marks on the floor (although I'm careful to mask my aversion around whoever brought it to the table).

Butternut Squash, Peeled and Cut

But last week, my mom tricked me into eating roasted butternut squash. Prepared this way, the squash's offensive orange hue morphed into an appetizing golden color. Any traces of that pumpkin smell were effectively chased away by the comforting aroma of garam masala (an Indian spice blend). Prepared this way, the butternut squash was impossibly sweet and completely addicting.

Roasted and Spiced Butternut Squash and Shallots

Might I remind you that this is coming from the girl who used to sit at the kitchen table moving her squash around and around, stubbornly determined to just make it magically disappear. This is coming from the girl who used to stare glumly at her brothers as they moved on to dessert and left to go play outside. This is coming from the girl who used to finally force down the fleshy and pulpy orange stuff by holding her nose and chasing it with a glass of lukewarm milk.

Never mind the fact that this recipe belongs on an autumn menu...I loved this roasted and spice-coated butternut squash (with onions) so much that I begged my mom make it again so I could share it on the blog.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Serves: 6

2 1/4 lbs fresh butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (there's 13 minutes of your 15 minutes of prep)
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced (we used shallots)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro (we omitted this)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place squash and onion on prepared baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with garam masala, salt, and pepper; toss to coat.
Roast, tossing about halfway through cooking, until squash and onions are slightly browned (about 25 minutes).
Transfer vegetables to a serving platter or bowl and sprinkle with cilantro (if desired); toss to coat.
Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

Nom Nom Nom

Try it! As an added bonus, preparing the squash is a great arm workout.

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