Baked Acorn Squash
Intimidated by the hard shell of acorn squash? Don't be.
All you need is a sharp chef's knife: slice off the bottom tip and the top of the squash first and then turn the squash on its side on your cutting board and cut it in half. The ridges of the squash will keep it from rolling. After scooping out the seeds, you simply add maple syrup, butter, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pepper to make the flavor pop. My family loves the optional topping of raisins and walnuts; during baking, the raisins become lusciously plump from the butter and syrup.
step 1Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease or spray with oil.
step 2Carefully slice the stem end off the top and 1 inch off the bottom of the acorn squash. This creates two flat surfaces or ends on which you will bake the squash. Set the squash on its side (the ridges will keep the squash from rolling over) and slice in half through the middle of the squash. (The two pieces will resemble the shape of a grapefruit cut in half.) Use a large metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp and discard them.
step 3Place the acorn squash halves, scooped out sides up, on the prepared baking sheet. Fill each half with 1 Tablespoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 Tablespoon butter, a pinch of salt and pepper and the optional 1 tablespoon of nuts and/or raisins.
step 4Bake in the oven, lightly brushing the insides and top every 20 minutes with the liquid in the center of each squash half. The squash will be done when you can poke a knife tip through the flesh on the inside with hardly any resistance. Start checking after about 45 minutes. Remove the roasted acorn squash halves carefully from the baking sheet with tongs or a flat spatula. Serve each half in its shell or scoop out the flesh from the shell and mash it with a fork.