Friday, February 08, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash...YUM!

J was out of town earlier this week so H and I had our favorite dinner. It's not really a recipe, per se, but anytime we serve these everyone wants to know how to make it so I thought I'd post it. When I was growing up in the south, we only had vegetables slow cooked with butter or bacon fat, or fried, so this whole concept of roasting fresh vegetables is new to me. I think using this method you can roast anything and it tastes good. We usually do butternut squash, onions, asparagus, and ,maybe potatoes or sweet potatoes. I've done it with carrots, sweet peppers, green beans, and just about any vegetable in the pantry. I use a convection oven so that I can roast multiple pans (they shrink up when cooking, but take up a lot of space at first). If you don't have a convection oven you can just put in multiple pans and rotate them periodically. When I set my oven to 425 degrees in the convection mode it actually cooks at 400 degrees, so adjust accordingly.

Also, the butternut squash, potatoes, and carrots take the longest time so I put them in the oven first, then cut up the rest and put them in a few minutes later.

H and I aren't really vegetarians, but this is a wonderful, filling, healthy meal.

Roasted Vegetables


*Any variety of vegetables, but the following are my favorites:

Butternut Squash
Sweet onions
Asparagus
Potatoes
Carrots
Sweet Peppers (Red, Green or Yellow)
Sweet Potatoes
Olive oil
dried basil
kosher salt

Wash, peel (if necessary), and cut into 1" chunks the squash, onions, potatoes or sweet potatoes. Trim root end of asparagus, and cut carrots and peppers into thick strips.

(Butternut squash is very labor intensive to peel. The easiest way I've found is to use very sharp chef's knife and cut ends off, then cut bottom (seed end) off and peel that, scoop out the seeds, then peel the long end and slice and cut into chunks. Some people just cut in half and cook, but I like exposing the cut ends while roasting to give it a little crispness)

Place vegetables in large bowl and sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Use hands to toss with the oil so it's distributed evenly. You don't have to use much. Spray large roasting pans (I use those large flat pans with about 1/2-1" sides) with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Spread vegetables so that they're separated, sprinkle with kosher salt and a little dried basil. Roast in convection oven set at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes or until cooked and a little crispy on the edges.

The different veggies cook at different speeds. The onions and asparagus cook pretty quickly, should only take 20 minutes or so. Squash and potatoes take the longest. Roasting brings out the sweetness and the kosher salt just makes it delicious!