This is an easy-easy-easy and delicious-delicious-delicious way to roast acorn squash.
At the same time, I recommend caution if it's important for the squash to be ready for the table at some exact moment -- this is because, in my experience, acorn squash is completely unpredictable time-wise. It always takes more or less time than recipes state for the squash to be properly cooked, something I found frustrating in 2005 during my various attempts to cook squash in various ways and at various temperatures and for various lengths of time.
Here's what I've learned:
- Squash size makes a difference, naturally.
- Small acorn squash (four halves fitting into a 9x9 pan) are hard to find but seem to cook at 350F in an hour, 30 minutes face-down, then 30 minutes face-up. Leave them face-down for the entire if there's no filling.
- Big acorn squash (weighing a pound or more) are more commonly found but take a good 90 minutes to roast, 45 minutes face-down, then 45 minutes face-up.
- Freshness makes a difference but it's hard to know how fresh the squash is, even if purchased at a farmers market because winter squash is not so perishable. Moisture makes a difference, as does variety, but again, these are difficult to recognize ahead of time.
- I brush a little oil on the skin and cut edge before putting winter squash into the oven, then partway through the baking time, brush a little butter on the rim. I think keeps the rim moist and uncharred but helps the sugars caramelize.
- Recipes often suggest removing a tiny slice from the bottom of each half so they'll sit straight. But this means that if the cooked flesh is thin and breaks open, the filling (for example, this recipe's butter-mustard-honey mixture) spills onto the baking sheet, sacrificing the goodness and rousting the fire department. So while the slice makes the squash look all neat and nice, I no longer do this.
For more recipes ideas for winter squash, see all the Winter Squash recipes in the Alphabet of Vegetables in the Recipe Box.
ACORN SQUASH with MUSTARD & HONEY
Time to table: 60 - 90 minutes
2 acorn squash
Per half -- stirred together
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon good mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut squash in half cross-wise and scrape out the seeds and inner gunk with a spoon. Rub the skin and cut edge with a little olive oil. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn cut-side up and add butter-honey-mustard mixture, brushing inside walls and the top rims. Continue baking for another 30 minutes or until done. Serve and enjoy!
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