Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash
For the easiest, most delicious way of cooking winter squash, let the oven do the work: roasting will bring out and concentrate the squash’s natural sweetness, while requiring little hands-on effort.
I have made roasted acorn squash over and over again, and will do so over and over again. The squash are simply hollowed out, filled with butter and maple syrup, and roasted and served whole. I love how impressive they look when plated. Keep the trimmed tops, with the stems attached, and add them to the baking pan, too, as they will serve as charming edible lids.
Since the ingredient list is so short and simple, use really good-quality maple syrup; the flavor will come through. I have tried maple syrups infused with flavors like rum, vanilla, and hot peppers that are also great, but frankly, a simple, really good-quality one works beautifully. Look for pure maple syrup with no added sugars or corn syrup.
These squash are the perfect size for a first course (one per person), but you can also cut them into halves or wedges as a side dish for a buffet dinner.
- 4 acorn squash, approximately the same size
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 8 tablespoons high-quality maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the bottom end of each squash, creating a flat surface so they can stand up straight. Slice off the top ends about 1 inch from the top, and reserve these “lids.” With a sharp knife and a spoon, scoop out the seeds and tendrils. Discard.
Arrange the squash, standing upright, in one layer in a deep-rimmed baking dish, and fill the dish with about 1/2 inch of water. Add a tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup into the cavity of each squash. Arrange the squash lids on their sides in the baking dish. Cover the dish with tin foil.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the squash begin to soften. Remove the foil, then bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until they’re completely soft with golden brown edges.
Arrange on a serving platter, topping each squash with its lid. Serve hot.
Make Ahead: To reheat, cover with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven until hot.