Butternut squash

Curvaceous butternut, the most popular variety of squash, with a clean, creamy taste. It’s easy to tackle in the kitchen: thin-skinned and pretty quick to prepare – a good veg peeler will do the trick. Squash doubles up as a decoration as you store it, looking full of promise on a kitchen shelf.

Storage & prep

Will keep for about a week

Storage: Keep squash warm and dry. Enjoy their decorative qualities by storing them on a kitchen shelf. They should last several months. Once cut, keep them in the fridge and use within a week.

Prep: Roasting squash gives a dish of glorious colours and deep, sweet flavours. Good as a starter, drizzled with yogurt and chilli oil; as a side, mashed with nutmeg, salt and butter; or stirred into risotto just before the rice is cooked.

Cooking tips

The all-rounder. Will work in almost every guise you’d wish to see a squash in. Roasts beautifully and will hold its shape well. The flesh is not so sweet as to taste pudding-like nor too vegetal like the larger true pumpkins. It has the highest proportion of edible flesh to seed and cavity.

Cooking ideas

Roasted: Surely the most common treatment for a squash, peeled and cut into chunks or curved wedges. Cooking times will vary from about 20-40 mins in a hot oven. A little chilli, spice or herbs would be welcome in the final 5 mins. They are done when they give to a firm pinch from a pair of tongs. They can be eaten hot as a side or cooled and made into a salad, maybe with some toasted nuts, red onion and sheep’s cheese.

Braised: Squash like to cook in a liquid environment, be it a fragrant broth or lightly spiced tagine. They can be added in chunks to a slow braised stew for the final 30 mins to bring a hearty sweetness to a dish and will carry strong curry spices with broad shoulders. The flesh is dense, firm and will hold its shape well.

Stuffed: Cleave in half and remove the soft, seedy core with a large spoon. Fill the cavity with a tasty pulse, grain or meat based stuffing, then bake until the squash is tender. It is best if the stuffing contains a reasonable amount of moisture for tender results – a left over Bolognese-style sauce works well.

Butternut squash recipe

Butternut, red onion & pumpkin seed salad

Pair the sweetness of butternut and roasted red onions for a fantastic winter side salad. To turn it into a full meal, add cooked Puy or dark green lentils, goat's cheese or feta and perhaps some strips of roasted red peppers.

Serves 4 - 55 min

Flavour Friends

Butternut squash work well with:

Asian flavourings, including soy sauce, fish sauce, coconut, lime and lemongrass

Cheese, especially strong hard cheeses, feta, goat’s cheese and blue cheese

Dairy - butter, cream, crème fraîche, sour cream and yoghurt

Garlic and onion, especially roasted red onions

Nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts

Sesame seeds, including tahini

Spices, especially chilli, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and star anise

Strong herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme

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