Acorn squash is a sweet winter squash that is delicious when you simply roast it in your oven. You can season acorn squash minimally, which allows its natural flavor to shine. Roast your acorn squash in your oven using one of several cooking techniques. The method you use depends on how much time you want to spend prepping or roasting the squash, as well as how dry or moist you want it.
Roasting an acorn squash face-up in the oven gives you a slightly chewy outer surface with a tender interior. Cut the squash in half lengthwise from the stem to the pointy top by inserting the tip of a large knife until it reaches the center; then slowly work the knife around until the halves separate. Scoop out the seeds. Fill a baking dish with about an inch of water, place the squash halves face-up in the pan, brush them with olive oil or melted butter, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Bake the squash at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour until they're tender.
Roasting an acorn squash face-down in the oven makes it tender all the way through, and it will cook a bit more quickly than if you roast it with the cut surface facing upwards. Cut the squash, remove the seeds, and place the flat surface face-down in a baking dish filled with about an inch of water. Roast it at 375 F for about 45 minutes and then test with a fork for doneness.
Peeled and Chopped
Cut your squash into bite-size pieces, peel it and roast it. The ridges on the outside of an acorn squash make it difficult to peel. To make it easier, cut your acorn squash into wedges by slicing along the grooves and peeling each section with a paring knife or a good vegetable peeler. Then cut the peeled sections into 1-inch lengths. Toss the pieces with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, spread them in a baking pan, and roast them at 375 F for about 30 minutes, until they're fork tender. Acorn squash that is cut prior to roasting has more surface area than acorn squash roasted whole, so it will be drier and slightly chewy.
Season Your Squash
Because roasted acorn squash is such a simple dish, it especially benefits if you dress it with high-quality ingredients. An artisan extra-virgin olive oil adds layers of flavor, as will good quality sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Flavored salts such as lemon pepper add depth without interfering with the flavor of the squash. Brown sugar and maple syrup also work well as seasonings for roasted acorn squash.
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