Delicata Squash is one of the first winter squash varieties of the season to be harvested, and is a favorite of many. Roasting in the oven is a simple way to prepare any winter squash. Here’s a primer. First, wash the squash thoroughly – Delicata squash skins are edible, much like the skins of a sweet potato. Next we have to take care of the stems, I usually break them off by knocking against the corner of my counter, but if you’re worried your counter tops might not take the abuse you can slice a thin slice off the end of the squash taking the stem with it.
Now it’s time to cut the squash in half. Set the squash on it’s flat side, then use the sharpest knife you can find and just cut the squash length wise, as straight as you can manage. A word of caution here: Be Mindful of Your Fingers! Winter squash is one of the most precarious things that you’ll ever cut in the kitchen, a slice can start out requiring a lot of pressure and suddenly hardly any is needed. It’s absolutely worth it to just take a few seconds and think about where your digits are before you begin – it can save a trip to the emergency room. Next, use a spoon to scrape the seed cavity out of the squash, get all the stringy bits as best you can too.
Now we can bake them! Slice into C-shapes or just place them face down on a baking sheet and bake in a 425 degree oven until they’re soft to the poke – about 40 minutes. We like to use parchment paper under the squash, it just makes cleanup so easy, if you don’t use parchment you might want to lightly grease your sheet pan. When they come out of the oven – each half makes a nice serving for dinner, if you like put a little pat of butter to melt in each one and lightly salt. Delicata’s are usually plenty sweet as is, but for some of the other squashes, a touch of maple syrup can be nice also.
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