This is an easy-to-prepare and very tasty way to enjoy butternut squash!
It's an adapted version of Ina Garten's recipe ("The Barefoot Contessa") found here.
Here's what you'll need:
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- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, to taste, peeled and minced (OR 1 head of garlic, separated but unpeeled)
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 1/2 T maple syrup (I've subbed maple-flavored syrup with acceptable results but it's best with real maple syrup)
- 1 t salt (kosher or sea salt if you have it)
- 1/2 t black pepper (fresh ground is best)
- 16 whole fresh sage leaves -- no substitute!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stir the garlic, olive oil, syrup, salt, and black pepper together in a small bowl. Spread the butternut squash cubes evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet (I've always used my stoneware cookie sheet and that works well -- if you have a LOT of squash you may want to use two sheets as you don't want to crowd things) and pour the oil/syrup mixture over, tossing the squash pieces to coat.
Put in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring gently to turn over the pieces at the half-way point. After 20 minutes sprinkle the fresh sage leaves over the squash and put the pan back in the oven for another 20 minutes or so, again turning once during the baking. You want the squash pieces to begin to turn brown and be soft with crispy edges.
So yum! The original recipe included pancetta but I've never added that. It also called for leaving the garlic whole and unpeeled (remove the peel when the squash is done roasting) which you can try if you want, that probably would be yummy but usually I just mince the garlic and throw it into the mixture.