My favorite thing about delicata squash doesn’t have anything to do with it’s luxurious, almost creamy taste, but rather the fact that I don’t have to spend what feels like hours of my time peeling the rind before cooking and eating. The delicata rind is not only edible, but with baking becomes quite tender and, dare I say, complimentary to the rest of the dish. It should be considered an Olympic sport – peeling and chopping up a butternut squash – not to mention that I’ve nearly speared my hand with a chef’s knife while attempting to do so. With glorious pleasure I’ve been marching past the butternut squash at the grocery store and haven’t looked back. I’ll return to them later when I’m craving my curried butternut squash soup. Meanwhile, enjoy this very easy (yet delicious) side dish to pair with your next meal, or even Thanksgiving dinner in T-minus 16 days.
ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH WITH CRANBERRIES
serves 4 as a side
1 delicata squash, weighing approximately 1.5 to 1.75 pounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2/3 cup fresh cranberries
pinch or two of sea salt
a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the ends off your delicata squash, then slice the whole thing lengthwise (depending on the size of the squash, you may want to slice it in half width-wise first to make it easier to slice lengthwise). Spoon the seeds out of each half and then slice each half into 1/2 inch thick slices. For reference, see the photo above.
Toss the squash and remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl. Spoon onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until soft and fork tender but not mushy.