The only thing I love more than roasted acorn squash is …
…stumbling upon Roberta’s at something called Madison Square Eats just minutes after emerging from Penn Station:
…meeting a dear high school friend for dinner at a place called Ichabod’s that serves the most unbelievable squash dumplings with brown butter, sage, and truffle oil (not pictured), flowering kale caesar (not pictured), duck breast with dirty wild freekah (not pictured), Old Bay chips (pictured! addictive!) and …
…the most unbelievable ice cream sundae: homemade vanilla ice cream, salted caramel sauce, pretzel bits and roasted marshmallow! It’s the only dessert on the menu. I can’t stop thinking about it:
There is never enough time in New York.
Alas. I returned from NYC to find a few acorn squash on my counter and made a recipe I had been drooling over on the train ride home. I rarely season squash with anything more than olive oil, salt and pepper, but I do love the flavor of maple, and the recipe reminded me of a roasted parsnip recipe I became addicted to last winter. The parsnip recipe called for the addition of chilies, which would be nice here, too, but the maple-butter alone is delicious. It also encouraged some nice caramelization on the top surfaces.
Adapted from Dana Cowin’s Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen. Available for preorder now. More on this book soon. Notes: Having just returned from an indulgent weekend in NYC, I was feeling a little reluctant to pour all of the sauce over the roasted halves. This would, of course, have been delicious, but it was delicious with just about a tablespoon of sauce in each half, and I had plenty of sauce leftover to repeat this recipe the following evening. So, you could either halve the sauce recipe or make it as is and save some of it for a future evening or just go all out and use it all. Also, I was being a little spacey and seasoned the acorn squash halves with salt before roasting them, which made me nervous to add salt to the sauce, though I am sure it probably would have been fine. I ended up finishing the roasted halves with a sprinkling of sea salt, which worked out just fine. So just know, either method works just fine.
- 3 acorn squash
- extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing the squash
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (see notes re halving this part of the recipe)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional, omitted because of the little people in the house)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (see notes re salt)
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a heavy chef’s knife, carefully cut each squash lengthwise in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the stringy interior and discard. Rub the squash halves with olive oil and place them cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Place the squash in the oven and bake until nearly tender (test with paring knife), about 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the butter, maple syrup, coriander (if using), and salt.
- Remove the squash from the oven, turn them cut side up and pour the maple butter evenly into the cavities — I added about a tablespoon to each cavity, which I thought was plenty, and which left me with plenty of sauce to use again on the subsequent evening. Return the squash to the oven and bake until it is totally tender, the maple butter is absorbed and everything is slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes longer. Serve hot. Sprinkle additional sea salt on top if necessary.