Sunday, September 30, 2012

The dirty little secret that nooooooone ever tells you about butternut squash...

So, it's fall (or as Kevin likes to say 'nothing says fall like 105 degree temperatures. ...smarty pants!). And being the fall-loving girl that I am, I've been thinking about all sorts of scrumptious, can't-hardly-wait-for-fall dishes I want to make and enjoy.'s time for SQUASH! ROASTS!! PUMPKINS!! SOUPS!!

The other day I ran across a yummy sounding recipe for butternut squash lasagna. (insert Scooby Doo 'HUH?' here). I think I'm going to have to make us some of that!

I read the recipe and, to be honest, while it didn't *sound* difficult, there are lot of steps involved to make the lasagna. (thank you, Michael Chiarello!) Oh well, I thought, we're making it for Sunday dinner and what are Sundays for but making special recipes that you don't have time to create during the week? Right?

We were so excited about making the squash this weekend that we went during the week and did all of our grocery shopping so that we could make sure we had all of the ingredients on hand for the Sunday cookfest. (Okay, okay ... I did forget mozzarella, but Kevin was running an errand anyway and picked some up on his way home this morning).

Because the process is so involved, I thought I'd knock out the first step - roasting the squash - earlier this morning before it got too hot. I re-read the recipe: Cut the tops and bottoms off of two 3-5 pound butternut squash. Use vegetable peeler to remove the tough skin on the outside of the squash. Cut squash in half; scoop out seeds. Lay squash flat side down on cutting board and cut into 1" chunks. Season squash with specified ingredients; place on roasting pan and roast for 50 minutes until tender. See what I mean? That doesn't sound so difficult, does it?


Have you ever tried to cut a butternut squash? Let me tell you, it is woefully misnamed as there is nothing 'squashy' about it (until it's roasted, of course). I placed the squash on a cutting board, took out the largest serrated knife we own (barring a saw from the garage, which, by the way, I was sorely tempted to use!) and *tried* to cut the top from one of the two squash. Uh, yeah...RIGHT. I made it about a quarter of the way through and the knife got stuck. Plan B: use the electric knife!! Once I was able to (very carefully) remove the first knife, I assembled the electric knife and assumed it would now be a piece of cake to cut that darn squash. WRONG I changed the knife blades in the electric knife to blades that, no kidding, resembled a small saw, and tried again. Well, it F-I-N-A-L-L-Y worked! But make no mistake, it still wasn't easy!

Then came the peeling portion of the preparation. REALLY? I'm not sure which is worse, attempting to *cut* the squash, or attempting to *peel* the squash. It may be a toss up. Several times I stopped to count and make sure all of my fingers were still attached. They were, but only by the grace of God!

Now that we have two peeled butternut squash, it's time to cut them in half and scoop out the seeds. Let me say this about that, the next time the damn seeds can stay INside for all I care. At one point, I literally held up a squash half and threatened 'You'd better be worth it!' Once again, I employed the use of the electric saw ... er ... knife with less than stellar results. Well, eventually the results were stellar, but not until I wrangled with those darn squash for a while. WHEW!

Next step: lay squash flat side down and cut into 1" chunks. Uh, yeah, I think NOT! I decided to ROAST the squash first, and then I'll cut it into chunks - when it actually lives up to the name 'squash'. I couldn't fathom putting the poor little electric knife through anymore; the motor was already hot and I swear I thought I saw a little trickle of smoke escape from the handle. I *know* I heard it whimper.

Here it is, looking all yummy and innocent getting ready to have the dickens roasted out of it:
Even Slippers seemed to be disgusted by the whole affair. Her look says it all ("What do you mean it's a 'vegetarian' lasagna? Where's the meat?)

I can only hope it's all worth it in the end. I'll letcha know how it all turns out. Either way, now I know why people buy those small bags of peeled, cored, and chunked butternut squash. *IF* we make it again, that's what I'll be using! Next Sunday we'll stick with an easy recipe - I've experimented enough for a week or two anyway.

Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

Jackie said...

I giggled all the way through this post. Randa, you certainly have a way with words.

God Bless.