Roasted Delicata Squash

I may already have hinted at this one particular meal Michael cooked me way back when we had just started dating, but it deserves another mentioning. Swedish as I was (and still am – but I honestly think we’re turning each other into a mix of us both), this whole winter squash concept was quite new – and very exotic. Don’t get me wrong – people in Sweden were definitely familiar with butternut squash six years ago, and you could find it in any well stocked grocery store. But that was kind of it. So when the Union Square farmers market (my go-to) went all in fall-mode and presented crate after crate of these uniquely looking ‘fruits’, I was in awe. Some were full of craggy dimples, some felt velvety smooth. A few showcased pretty stripes and cute speckles, one looked like a big acorn (and is thus named ‘acorn squash’). They were big and small and medium, came in all sorts of colors and… tasted amazing. At least many of them. The delicata variety is our favorite. The flavor is nutty and a little sweet, and the peel is perfectly edible. That means not only no peeling needed, but also that the consistency gets more interesting, with the soft flesh contrasting the tender yet chewy skin. It’s mentioned in the instructions below, but it can’t hurt to remind you here as well – if you use another type of squash than delicata, make sure the peel is edible before you start cooking. Or edible is a misnomer – all peels are edible, but some won’t be enjoyable to eat.

This dish puts you in a fall state of mind the second you smell all those lovely spices. It’s the perfect side dish for just about any dinner table this time of year, and we often just serve these wedges next to for example bean patties and some greens, over some type of grain in a bowl or mixed with kale and legumes for a hearty salad. Oh, and as per usual – choose organic squashes. Organic produce is always preferred, but when you’re also eating the outside skin, it’s even more important. Good luck cooking!

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Ugnsrostad delicatasquash

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

3 pounds delicata squash (approx. 2 medium)
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 430°F. Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds. Cut in 1/2 inch thick slices and put in a large mixing bowl. The skin of delicata is tender and can be eaten once cooked, but if substituting a different winter squash, such as butternut, make sure to peel off the skin as well.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup. If using olive oil, just combine the syrup and olive oil in a small bowl. Mix in the the salt and all the ground spices, and then pour the mixture over the winter squash. Toss to coat evenly. Arrange the squash in single layer on two oven sheets with parchment paper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning once after halfway. The squash is ready when tender and the edges start to brown.

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