Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash with Red Onion and Thyme

I don't usually cook myself lunch. Lunch is for sandwiches, reheating leftovers and picking at strange odds and ends. I have totally made lunch out of cookies and cheese on occasion. If I put any effort into lunch, it usually involves quickly sauteing something on the stovetop. No advance planning means that lunch can't be time-consuming.

Today, however, I was forced to deviate from my usual path when I walked into my garden and noticed that my butternut squash - the only butternut squash that had matured on my vine, and for which I had harbored such high hopes - had developed some blemishes. They looked like rotten spots, but when I touched them, the outer rind didn't seem at all soft. Still, better safe than sorry. I plucked it from the vine, to be eaten ASAP.

I was a little worried about what I'd get when I cut it open, but as you can see, the blemishes were only skin deep. Tragedy having been averted, I began plotting. My favorite way to prepare winter squash is by roasting (actually, that's my favorite way to prepare most vegetables). I thought it might be nice with some red onion as well, and a bit of the massive thyme bush that is attempting to hijack my herb garden. The result was a flavorful, comforting little dish that made my whole house smell like fall (despite the summer-ish violent thunderstorm that had just rolled through). And squash is super-healthy, too. I look forward to many more tasty squash dishes as the weather begins to get chilly. Too bad my vine didn't produce any others!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Red Onion and Thyme

1 butternut squash
1/2 red onion, chopped (keep the chunks large or they will disintegrate in the oven)
small bunch thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
2 tsp olive oil (the amount really depends on the size of your squash - the cubes need to be lightly coated)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Peel your squash (I hear you can do it with a heavy-duty vegetable peeler, but I just use a knife) and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Combine in a bowl with chopped onion and thyme leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Pour squash mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray (I neglected the cooking spray and have a mess waiting for me in the kitchen sink). Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once (the time will depend on the temperature of your oven - mine needs a tune-up, so it took longer). Enjoy with a sprig or two of fresh thyme.

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