Usually as we approach mid-November, I’m happily cooking and baking up a storm, relishing the bonus of a warm home. But this has not been a typical year. After a very hot, humid summer, we are still above normal, temperature-wise. As I type this, it’s 70 degrees! People have their heat turned off and their windows open. Everyone seems to have given up their coat for part of the week, enjoying this last(?) heat wave before the weather cools again.
It may feel like early fall, but it certainly doesn’t look it. The trees outside my home are barren, and seasonal local produce consists of cranberries, apples, pears, root vegetables, and winter squash.
With the upcoming cooler temperatures, I had to break out my French Country Cooking book. I want soups and warm vegetables, and hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals. After my squash soup debacle, I immediately zeroed in on a recipe for roasted squash with herbs. I do enjoy roasted winter squash, and my frozen herb stash was recently depleted by a batch of chicken stock. Plus, the squash made a simple lunch for me, with plenty of leftovers for dinner side dishes.
This recipe is a keeper. It’s simple, hands-off, and I love the savory-sweet combination.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Herbs
adapted from The Country Cooking of France
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh rosemary
3 dried bay leaves
Preheat oven to 375*F.
Wash squash thoroughly. With a large chef’s knife, cut off the base and top of the squash. Cut the squash in half, just above the base. Now cut each half down the middle, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon and discard. Set each piece, flat-side down, on a cutting board, and cut into 3/8 inch slices (including the skin).
Melt butter and olive oil. Brush a very large rimmed baking sheet (or two medium baking sheets) with butter-oil mixture. Arrange squash on the sheet(s) so the pieces aren’t touching. Brush the squash with the butter-oil mix. Scatter the herbs among the squash, tucking some of them underneath the squash. Sprinkle the squash with sugar, season with salt and pepper.
Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, brush squash again with butter. Roast for another 15 minutes, or until the squash is browned underneath. Flip over, brush with butter, and return to oven. Roast until tender and crispy around the edges (most of the pieces will have light browning).