WAY BACK IN 2007 So what self-respecting vegetable-recipe website like A Veggie Venture takes 2+ years to figure out how to steam winter squash? No question what held me back: I like ten fingers! I was unwilling to sacrifice a single one to a squash, no-siree!
Here's the trick – and it takes all of six minutes to cut a butternut squash into cubes, definitely a good investment of time for how gorgeous steamed winter squash turns out. Better yet? I checked: yep, all fingers present and accounted for. Here's how you cut an unwieldy butternut squash into cubes. Do it once and you'll never look back.
IN WORDS First slice off the stem end and the blossom end, this will give you flat surfaces to steady your work. Then cut off the "neck" of a butternut squash, those are the pale brown ones with a round bulb on one end and a long neck – with a sharp knife, this is hard at all. Then use a vegetable peeler or the knife to slice off the thick skin – some cooks prefer a vegetable peeler, I use a smaller knife vs a big chef's knife. Do keep the neck's flat end of the neck steady on a cutting board, slicing top to bottom. Then cut the neck into rounds about an inch thick, then stack a couple at a time to cut into cubes. That's it!
IN PICTURES See how to cut, peel & cube a butternut squash and keep all ten fingers for step-by-step photo illustrations of this technique. This is one of A Veggie Venture's top pages, it really helps people understand the mechanics of cutting up a butternut squash.
WHY STEAM BUTTERNUT SQUASH? Because the taste is so clean and pure, so very squashy, a golden canvas on which to paint your own favorite flavors.
STEAMED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Time to table: 40 minutes
1 very large butternut squash (neck only) or 1 medium butternut squash (whole squash) or 2 small butternut squash (whole squashes)
1 tablespoon butter
Salt & pepper
Wash squash well, peel and cut the neck of the squash (for a very large squash) or the entire squash (for medium or small squashes) into cubes, here's how to cut, peel & cube a butternut squash and keep all ten fingers. You want about a pound of cubes.
Set water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Arrange cubes evenly in a collapsible steamer basket. Lower the basket into the pot, cover and let steam, adjusting heat to maintain a fast boil below the steamer basket. The squash will be cooked after about 30 minutes – since timing can vary depending on the size of the cubes and the age of the squash and the heat of the steamer, check for doneness after about 15 or 20 minutes, then gauge from there.
Drain the water, drop the cooked squash back into the pot with butter, salt and pepper. Toss gently, the edges are soft.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
The neck is sweetest, easiest-to-cut part of a butternut squash, that's the long, cylindrical piece on the stem end. If you start with a large four-pound butternut squash, the neck alone will yield about one pound of squash cubes. But if you want to use the whole squash, choose a medium-size squash and use the whole thing or two small squashes, also the entire thing.
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MORE FAVORITE BUTTERNUT SQUASH RECIPES~ My Favorite Winter Squash Recipes ~
~ How to Roast a Whole Butternut Squash ~
~ Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine ~
~ Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar ~
~ Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze ~
~ more winter squash recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Squash Puff ~
~ Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple ~
~ Chicken & Wild Rice Soup ~
~ more winter squash ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column