This has got to be my favorite way to cook squash, short of doing that kind-of-horrifying-but-still-embarrassingly-yummy thing where you mash it up with butter then bake it under a snowy blanket of marshmallows.
Think of this as grown-up version of that. It’s sweet and salty, and is a well-mannered companion for an elegant autumn dinner.
This squash cooks in two parts. First with rosemary, salt, and garlic. Second with brown sugar and butter. The finished dish is fragrant with rosemary and garlic—and dripping with a subtle, caramel-y sauce.
Warning: Please don’t cut yourself in half
These little green devils are horrible to cut. They’re round. The rind is hard. It’s easy to slip and cut yourself. I usually ask The Angry Chef if he’ll dispatch them for me.
I can’t emphasize safety enough with this one—or any squash for that matter. Please be really, really careful not to cut a finger or a paw off.
I’ve included step-by-step photos of how we chop ours up with relative safety. If you’re nervous about it rolling around, you could slice a little piece off the side to make a flat surface for it to sit on.
In the end, though, the roasted squash is well worth the trouble
Oh, and if you’re one of those folks who likes those French caramels made with fleur de sel, pay attention to the gooey, golden, slightly salty goodness in the bottom of your pan when your squash is done.
That’s a cook’s treat.
Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash
1 heaping tsp. dried rosemary
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbls. butter
Serves 4 as a side.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and set aside. Set your acorn squash on a good sturdy surface.
Hold your squash firmly with one hand. Carefully cut down into it with a heavy cleaver so that the blade lodges in the squash’s rind.
Put the palm of your hand on the top of the cleaver and carefully rock it back and forth, pressing down, to wedge the blade deeper into the squash.
When you’ve got the blade about halfway into the squash, press down firmly on the top of your cleaver to cut it completely in half.
Take a large soup spoon and scoop out the seeds, just like you would clean the inside of a pumpkin before you carve it for Halloween.
Scrape the flesh clean of any nasty, stringy, sticky bits.
Your squash should look about like this:
To quarter your squash, cut each half in half again.
Put your squash quarters into your prepared baking dish, flesh side up.
Spray the flesh of the squash lightly with canola oil to help keep it from drying out as it roasts.
Put the rosemary, salt, and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Mash them up til the garlic forms a good paste.
With your hand, spread the herb mixture evenly over the squash quarters.
Put your dish in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. After a half an hour, your squash should be slightly brown on the edges and soft-ish when poked with a fork.
Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the squash pieces. Be sure to get the edges, too.
Cut your butter up into thin pieces. Dot the pieces around fairly evenly on the squash.
Roast in the oven for about another 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep an eye on it, as your final roasting time will depend on the size of your squash.
When it’s done, the squash should be golden brown, slightly crisp on the very tippy edges, and totally soft when poked with a fork.
Serve and enjoy!