Butternut squash are a lot of work. Peeling the hard skin, seeding, roasting, pureeing – I love the taste, but I saved it for Thanksgiving, when I could face the extra work for a good side dish.
Then I joined my CSA, and got winter squash every year in my fall share boxes. For a while, the squash were seasonal decorations, hanging out on my kitchen counter during the cold winter months. When spring rolled around, they went in the trash. I meant to use them, really I did, but I never got around to it.
First, I put out a call for help from my readers, and I got some great ideas.
Second, I found the pressure cooker squash technique in Modernist Cuisine at Home. Their big trick is adding baking soda, increasing the pH of the squash. This food science trick lowers the browning temperature enough for the squash to roast in the pressure cooker. The result is browned, caramelized squash after 20 minutes of high pressure.
The third thing is: I found pre-cut squash at my local grocery stores. It’s cheating, I know. But…if I don’t have to clean the squash, it can be a weeknight side dish.
In spite of all that, I can’t give up on the holiday connection. I still serve squash on Thanksgiving, seasoned with sage, the herb that I associate with the flavor of Fall.
No pressure cooker? No worries, see the notes section for oven roasting instructions.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Butternut Squash Puree with Honey and Sage
Adapted from: Pressure Cooker Squash, Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, Modernist Cuisine at Home
Pressure Cooker Butternut Squash with Honey and Sage recipe. Quick squash puree with the tastes of fall.
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into a rough 1 1/2 inch dice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Pressure cook the squash: Melt the butter in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat. Add the squash, sprinkle with the salt and baking soda, then stir in the water and the sage. Lock the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure. Lower the heat to maintain high pressure, cook at high pressure for 20 minutes (24 minutes in an electric PC), then quick release the pressure.
- Puree the squash: Discard the sage leaves, then pour everything else from the pot into a food processor or blender. Add the honey, then run the food processor until the squash is pureed, about 30 seconds. Taste and add more salt and honey if needed, then serve.
- No pressure cooker? No worries. First, melt the butter. Then, put the squash cubes on a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with the salt and baking soda, drizzle with the melted butter and honey, and toss to coat. Put the baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 45 minutes, and roast until browned. Scrape the pan into a food processor, add the water, and puree.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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