Half Your Plate with Chef Michael Smith: Cinnamon Roast Butternut Squash and Apples
Butternut squash is a tough, hard vegetable that’s packed with easily unlocked flavour. It’s perfect for slow roasting. With patience a deliciously sweet texture and flavour emerge. Add this easy-to-master basic method to your repertoire and you’ll find it equally easy to toss in your own twists or two. No matter what joins it in the oven, roast butternut squash is always a delicious way to fill Half Your Plate!
Cinnamon Roast Butternut Squash and Apples
SERVES 4 TO 6
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of vegetable oil
- 2 of your favourite apples, unpeeled, cored and diced
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 cup of walnut halves or pieces
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of salt
- lots of freshly ground pepper
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
Preheat your oven to 375°. Turn on your convection fan if you have one.
With the back of a heavy knife, knock off any wooden stem still attached to the squash. Peel the squash with a standard vegetable peeler. Cut into two large pieces, slicing just above the bulbous seed-containing bottom. Cut each piece in half. Scrape out the seeds and continue cutting the works into large bite-sized pieces.
Toss the squash into a large roasting pan or large heavy skillet. Add all the remaining ingredients except the green onions. Stir until thoroughly and evenly combined. Slowly roast until deliciously caramelized, soft and tender, about 1 hour. Top with a flourish of green onions.
How To Twist
South Western? Replace the apples, walnuts and cinnamon with a red and green bell pepper and season the works with 1 tablespoon of chili powder. You can even include a sliced chorizo sausage or two in the works. Finish with lots of chopped fresh cilantro. Indian? Try a riff on Aloo Gobi by swapping the apples, walnuts and cinnamon for a head of cauliflower florets and 2 tablespoons of curry powder.
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