butternut squash: roasted and mashed

November 13, 2012

whole butternut squash butternutscoopedout If you’ve been reading these tea leaves for awhile, you might recall that there’s a somewhat unusual allergy in our house. James is allergic to potatoes.

Yes, that means no french fries. Yes, it means haranguing waiters about the presence of potato starch in soups. Yes, it means realizing that just about every restaurant in Brooklyn uses potato rolls for their burgers. But perhaps most painfully, it means no potatoes at Thanksgiving.


But before you send letters of sympathy and posies to console me, let me present a potato-less Thanksgiving side dish that actually does not disappoint. If you’re one of the .0002% (according to my calculations) of the population that can’t eat potatoes, consider this your savior. A potato alternative so good that no one at Thanksgiving dinner will miss the buttery fluff they’re used to (or at least they’ll abstain from telling you). If you can eat potatoes, consider making this anyway. Tonight.

Like most things I cook, this is a bare-bones, no-nonsense, add-come-heavy-cream-and-call-it-a-day recipe. It’s the kind of dish that you start while the sun is still in the sky and by the time you’ve finished it’s already gone. It’s not because it takes so very long, but because at this time of year the hours just work that way. Dinner is prepared after dark. Think of this as your bright spot once the sun goes down.
roasted garlic roasted butternut squash mashed butternut squash with roasted garlic and cream Roasted & Mashed Butternut Squash with Garlic & Cream:

1 large butternut squash (or more, depending on the crowd)
1 head garlic
a half cup (or so) cream, to taste
sea salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
olive oil, a drizzle or three

You could make this something much more sophisticated, but the easy version is so tasty that you’ll be tempted not to.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. Cut your squash length-wise down the center. Scoop out the seeds. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on a baking pan, and place the seedless-squash face down on the pan.*

3.  Cut the very top off of your head of garlic and discard. If you’re using a hard-necked variety you might have to use some force to get through the stem. If there’s a thick papery layer around the garlic head, remove the outermost layer of skin but be sure to leave enough so that the whole head remains intact. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in a piece of parchment paper. Place packet next to the squash and put the whole baking dish in the hot oven. Let roast for roughly one hour.

4.  When squash and garlic are both soft, remove baking sheet from oven. Using a spoon, scoop softened squash out of its skin and into a medium bowl (be careful not to burn your fingers). Add roasted garlic to the squash–with a little pinch, the cloves should easily slip out of their papery shells.

5. I use a pastry cutter to mash the cloves and squash together. If you have an immersion blender, you could give that a go, too. Add salt, pepper, and cream to taste.

6. Enjoy. {If you’re in the mood for a simple dinner, sauté some greens to have on the side and enjoy your purée with a hunk of bread and strong cheese}.

*Strangely enough, handling raw, peeled butternut squash actually gives both me and James a slight allergic reaction, Unlike being allergic to potatoes, this allergy is fairly common. Read more about it here, and avoid the whole mess by only making a single slice down the center of your squash before it’s cooked (there’s no need to cut the squash into cubes)! I hardly touched the stuff and avoided a reaction this time.

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  • Reply Elizabeth November 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    We do this, too, but with apples instead of garlic. It's like sweet potato cassarole, but not gross. Or for sneaky leftovers, roast cubed squash and apples for dinner one night and serve chunky, then puree the leftovers the second night for shepherd's pie with spicy sausage. Yum.

  • Reply Boston Gemmie November 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Looks delicious!!! Definately will have to try this. I would absolutely cry if I couldnt eat fries or potatoes or chips!!! OMG!!! NO CHIPS!!! 🙁 I have never heard of this kind of allergy…Im so sorry for you both! have a great Holiday!

  • Reply LARY @InspirationNook November 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    This looks amazing. Might have to make it for Thanksgiving.

  • Reply Marie Matter November 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    i have been using butternut squash non-stop for the past couple of weeks. can't get enough of it! so sad about the potato allergy 🙁 but at least you have beautiful recipes like this!

  • Reply Mary November 14, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Butternut squash is absolutely divine! Have loved it since i was a kid. Acorn is delicious too, but harder to prepare. 🙂 Your pics here are making my mouth water..

  • Reply Lauren November 15, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I've got butternut squash in the oven now.

    Love this line: "You could make this something much more sophisticated, but the easy version is so tasty that you'll be tempted not to."

    Happy Feasting!

  • Reply Maggie November 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Just as good as mashed potatoes. PS Have you ever made oven/french fries with celery root? Pretty great and not as sweet as some other alternatives.

  • Reply Erin November 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    that sounds amazing! i've done parsnip fries, but never celery root! yum.

  • Reply maryisneat July 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    I've had pretty good luck with mashed cauliflower, and this recipe looks great:

  • Reply Jessie West September 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    OMGoodness, I also have a potato allergy (which i developed in my 20's) and I rarely hear of others with this same allergy. Actually, when I start questioning wait staff about how things are prepared and explain I have a potato allergy, I am often given this strange look like I am making it up or something!! Anyway, I am super excited to try this recipe (trying it tonight actually)!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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