Ok, so it’s not like roasted butternut squash is anything new, I realize that. But this recipe looked really good, so I had to try it. It’s pretty simple in its method – basically you make a mixture of coconut milk, brown sugar, spices, and sliced chiles and toss cubed, unpeeled squash in it. The mixture turns into a sweet and spicy glaze as the squash bakes (first covered, then uncovered to brown). The result was one of the more interesting versions of roasted butternut I’ve had and something I’ll definitely pull out again. I think that it could be a really impressive side dish to a vegetarian meal, because it’s so unexpected and flavorful. The texture was also much more dense than most butternut I’ve had, perhaps due to the long baking?
I think the ingredient list should be seen as a “suggestions” list, because you could really go a lot of directions with the basic recipe. Thai curry paste would be a great stand-in for basically all the spices. An Indian version would be great as well. If I had it to do over, I’d squeeze some lime over the entire dish at the end, and garnish with some sliced green onion to add brightness.
I am quoting the recipe from memory (it was in last month’s food and wine), but this is the basic recipe:
1 large butternut or kabocha squash, washed, unpeeled, seeded and cubed
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 inches fresh ginger, sliced
1 hot chili, sliced
salt to taste
Mix all ingredients, except for squash, together. Toss the cubed squash in the coconut milk mixture to coat. Spread out in one layer on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 20-30 minutes. The original recipe had you increasing the oven temp to 420 and then 450 to get a golden brown on the squash. That didn’t seem necessary to me, but try it out if you like. I also had to salt the squash again at the end, but I love salt 🙂