Do you need an easy, colorful side for Thanksgiving that won’t stress you out, can be done ahead of time and tastes delicious? Have you ever wondered what to do with an acorn squash? If you answered yes to either of those questions, I have the recipe for you! Or, if you are like me and want to make any dish that has the word caramelized in front of it, then this is for you, too. I love squash, but in the past have been a little intimidated by them, because they seemed so heavy and awkward, full of seeds (I’m thinking of Halloweens past where scooping out the insides of the pumpkin took hours), and I never knew how long to cook them or how to fix them. Well, at least for acorn squash, that problem is solved. This is the simplest recipe, but the results are out of this world delicious! Top that with the fact that the insides of this squash are such a pretty color, and you have one of the best side dishes ever.
The nice thing about an acorn squash is that the amount of seeds and goop in the middle is relatively small. It took me all of about 5 minutes to clean out both halves. I also love that you don’t need to peel the squash in this recipe.
You will need a large sharp knife, however, to cut it into 1-inch slices. It wasn’t that difficult, but in the interest of full disclosure there were a few flying squash pieces that ended up on the other side of the room. It helped to cut slits into each end of the squash where you want to cut it, then insert your knife in the slits, in order for the knife not to slide around. It was very therapeutic to cut the squash. I got all my aggression out and am now completely de-stressed. Actually, I am making it sound harder than it was. Flying squash is really pretty funny and made for an entertaining afternoon (I really need to get a life)!:)
The best part about this dish is how easy it is to caramelize it. It is a simple paste of brown sugar, butter, salt, and rosemary.
Instead of melting the butter, you just soften it a little bit, add the other ingredients and smear it onto the top of the slices. Then you can either put the slices in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them or cook them right away. The sugar doesn’t make the squash overly sweet, but just gives it a melt in your mouth quality. And the rosemary, it goes so perfect with the squash. Fresh herbs have such a delicate, aromatic flavor that is very different from dried spices.
Because of its beautiful color, this would be a great side for Christmas dinner as well. But, I know I will be making this again and again whether it is a holiday or not because it was so flavorful and easy to do. If you need another side dish or just need a good laugh and to de-stress, consider making this recipe. Your family and your tummy will thank you!:)
Caramelized Acorn Squash With Rosemary
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for garnish
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 c brown sugar (firmly packed)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced, plus more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the acorn squash in half from top to bottom using a sharp knife. Be careful of your fingers!
- Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and strings inside.
- Slice squash into approximately 1 inch slices.
- Place slices into a foil lined, casserole dish, skin side down.
- Combine the softened butter, brown sugar, salt, and fresh rosemary in a bowl and mix into a paste.
- Smear the paste all over the squash. (If desired, the squash can then be placed in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Don’t forget to leave the dish out for a little bit before placing it in the oven so the dish doesn’t break).
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Then baste with the butter mixture from the bottom of the pan and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Take the squash out of the oven, place on a serving platter, and drizzle more of the butter sauce on top of the squash. Garnish with rosemary and kosher salt and serve immediately.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.
Recipe slightly adapted by Cook AZ I Do, originally from The Pioneer Woman on Food Network