My mom and I disagree on how to prepare squash.
Over the years, every time I’d tell her I had made a curried squash soup, or a stuffed pumpkin, or anything involving spices, she would tell me I was crazy. Obviously (to her), the best preparation for squash is to bake until soft, and then mash with butter, salt and pepper. Simple and delicious!
We obviously have different motives, in addition to different tastes. So what happens when we need a dish that will satisfy us both?
I chose a recipe that retains the spirit of the ‘natural squash’ by not overwhelming it with spices. A simple addition of some Herbes de Provence (a favourite of Mom’s AND mine), along with the s&p, are all it needs… because, for those who need a punch, there is Danish blue cheese!
I’m obsessed with Danish blue cheese this year. I’m not sure how it took me so long… I’ve liked Gorgonzola for a long time, and enjoy the odd nip of Stilton, but never went out of my way to buy a chunk of Danish blue. I ate some at Thanksgiving and realized I’d been missing out… and have had some in my fridge at all times since.
Back to the recipe… the squash is roasted in one-inch chunks. I was excited to play with the Mezzaluna my Mom has that cuts in a ridged pattern (see pic two above for a glimpse of the tool itself). Yeah, I like to snoop through other peoples’ kitchen stuff.
The pecans give the dish a fun crunch, and they get nice and toasty in the oven. The cheese gives it a crazy kick. The squash is creamy and mild, mellowing out the whole dish and bringing all of the different flavours and textures together.
Of course, I topped the whole thing with slices of green onion, like I usually do.
I’ve tried this kind of dish before – I’ve winged it, I’ve followed some recipes. I seem to have found a combination of ingredients and steps that do what I need. As you’ll see in the recipe recap, my variation on the dish follows the variations of a number of others. No doubt the original dish was a variation. This is a fairly classic combination of ingredients, done in a way that everyone can enjoy!
Recipe after the jump!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Pecans, and Blue Cheese
- 1 2lb butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup Danish Blue cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Cut ends off squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds with a sharp spoon, peel squash with a vegetable peeler, then cut into 1 inch cubes.
- Toss the squash cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.
- Arrange the squash in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes without opening oven.
- Remove the pan and turn squash cubes over. (They should be lightly browned on the bottom.) Roast the squash 15 minutes more.
- Turn the squash one more time and sprinkle pecans over the top. Roast 10-15 minutes more, until the nuts are fragrant and the squash cubes are soft and caramelized.
- Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper if it needs more.
- Serve the crumbled blue cheese at the table, so you and your guests can choose how much cheese to add (if any).