The biggest foodie holiday of the year is almost upon us. In preparation, I’ve begun making full-scale turkey dinners with homemade gravy and cranberry chutney. Instead of the delicious but filling Sweet Potato PB Casserole, I wanted some kind of squash dish. Since fall is here, butternut squash are easy to come by and simple to prepare (as long as you don’t have to peel them, like for Butternut Squash Fries). Baked, mashed and mixed with peanut butter, syrup and cinnamon was the obvious choice, and it tasted perfect the first time around. Toasted pecans only sweeten the deal. If you decide to make this for Thanksgiving, make a batch now all for yourself, so you won’t mind sharing it with guests when Thanksgiving arrives.
1 (1.5-2 lb) butternut squash
3-4 Tbsp of creamy peanut butter (I used natural PB)
2-3 Tbsp maple syrup, to taste
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup milk, as needed
1/2 cup pecans
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
2. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and cover the squash flesh (not the skin) with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the two halves on the baking sheet, skin-side-up. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until fork-tender all the way through.
3. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans by shaking the pan every 20 seconds or so, until they are darker and become aromatic, but not burned.
4. When the squash is done, scoop the flesh into a sauce pan over low heat, add a little bit of milk, and mash with a potato masher. Add the peanut butter, maple syrup and cinnamon and mix. Continue to mix/mash, adding milk as necessary, until desired flavor and consistency are achieved. Spread the puree to form a flat surface in the pan, then top with pecans and serve.