Brown butter winter squash is going to banish memories of all other butternut squash recipes—including that boring brown sugar and butter trick your mom used—from your mind. Here’s how to cook it.
This brown butter winter squash recipe is proof that brown butter has a knack for making just about anything tempting with its nutty fragrance and flavor. Even good-for-you vegetables. It’s sorta like black magic in that regard. Or rather, in this case, brown magic. And it’s not the brown butter alone that makes this squash tempting. It can also be a little something spicy or sweet—take a gander at the many Variations beneath the recipe—and the corresponding comments from folks who’ve made them—and you’ll understand exactly what we mean. Originally published November 12, 2012.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Brown Butter Winter Squash
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 40 M
- Serves 4
- Two (1-pound) small winter squashes, such as butternut or acorn
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 oz), cut into 4 equal chunks
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as sage, thyme, rosemary, or marjoram (optional)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- 2. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. Lightly brush both the curved and the cut sides of the squash halves with the olive oil. Season the cut sides of the squash generously with salt and pepper, then place the squash, cut-side down, on the baking sheet.
- 3. Roast the squash until very nearly tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using a spatula, carefully turn each one cut-side up. Plonk a piece of butter in each squash cavity. Sprinkle each squash with the herbs, if using. Continue to roast the squash halves until the butter is melted and begins to brown lightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
- 4. Using a sturdy spatula (or 2 spatulas or a spatula and tongs or whatever it takes), transfer the squash to a platter or individual plates. Serve at once.
Winter Squash Variations
- Winter Squash with Maple Syrup
- Bake the squash for 20 minutes as directed. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and then remove from the heat. When you turn the squash halves, add the seasoned butter to the cavities, dividing it evenly. Omit the herbs and proceed as directed.
- Winter Squash with Southwest Spices
- Bake the squash for 20 minutes as directed. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or chili powder, stir for 30 seconds, and then remove from the heat. When you turn the squash halves, add the seasoned butter to the cavities, dividing it evenly. Omit the herbs and proceed as directed.