The holidays are quickly approaching and as is usual this time of year I am testing recipes for our holiday meals. I love squash of just about any variety, but acorn squash has always been one of my favorites. The squash is small enough for two to share, has dense, sweet flesh, and cooks up pretty quickly. When it comes to my favorite cooking methods for vegetables, roasting has to be top of the list. There is just something extraordinary that happens to vegetables when they are roasted, and their sugars become caramelized. My favorite vegetables to roast are Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and of course winter squash.
For this recipe, I decided to keep the preparation pretty simple to allow the natural flavor of the squash to shine through. I first cut the squash into wedges, then I part roasted the squash, before brushing it with melted butter and a little brown sugar. Just before the roasting time was up, I sprinkled on some chopped sour cherries and walnuts. I’ll be honest with you, I intended to use dried cranberries, but having just returned from six months in Italy, my pantry apparently was lacking in cranberries, so I used what was there, and that was dried sour cherries. The cherries complemented the sweetness of the squash nicely, and the walnuts added some great texture, but feel free to use cranberries instead of the cherries, and pecans in place of the walnuts if you prefer. Like any good holiday side dish, this squash dish can be prepared ahead of time and be served at room temperature.
Deborah Mele 2017
Caramelized Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges With Dried Cherries & Walnuts
- 2 Acorn Squash, Cut Into 6 to 8 Wedges, Seeds Removed
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
- 1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Grown Cinnamon
- 1 Cup Chopped Dried Cherries Or Cranberries
- 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Rub the squash wedges with olive oil and place on an aluminum foil baking sheet.
- Season wedges with salt and pepper and place cut side up on the prepared pan.
- Roast for 20 minutes.
- Mix together the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then rub over the squash wedges.
- Return to the oven and roast for another 20 minutes.
- Brush the melted butter mixture over the squash wedges, then sprinkle the walnuts and dried fruit over the top of the wedges and roast another 5 to 10 minutes or until the squash has caramelized and is fork tender.