Winter time is winter squash time …. yum. But what about those rock-hard skins? Many a shopping trip I decided to skip the winter squash based on numerous prior attempts to hack them open with a variety of large kitchen knives (and some close calls with a few fingers).
But you can find all the answers to your problems on the internet (haha). The pre-microwave softening tip below removes the fear from cutting open hard squash like the acorn. So go buy a few and enjoy this delicious and nutritious veggie.
BAKED ACORN SQUASH – Serves 2-4
1 acorn squash
1 – 2 tablespoons butter (or butter substitute), diced into small pieces
salt and pepper
1/2 cup water
Rinse acorn squash, pat dry and microwave whole on high for 1 – 2 minutes to soften skin. Remove from microwave (you may need to use an oven mitt) and carefully cut squash down the middle with a large, sharp knife. (The squash should be soft enough to cut fairly easily; if not, microwave another 30 seconds or so.) Scoop out seeds and stringy parts with a spoon.
Score the inside of both halves with the knife, cutting about a quarter inch into the flesh, criss crossing to make a grid pattern. Sprinkle both halves with butter, salt and pepper to taste (if you like your squash sweet, you can also sprinkle on some brown sugar).
Pour about 1/2 cup water into an 8 x 8″ pan (water should cover bottom of pan). Place the squash, skin side down, into the pan with the water.
Bake at 400 for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until squash is soft and beginning to brown. You can scoop the squash flesh out and mash it with a fork, or you can serve them as they are; they make a pretty accompaniment on the plate! I quartered mine for this meal.
I usually stab the acorn squash with a knife a few times so steam can escape, cook it for a while, then cut it. I’ll have to try this method.