Pictured recipe: Roasted Honeynut Squash
Have you ever seen a squash so cute before? What looks like a shrunken butternut squash is actually just that.
In 2009, Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill challenged vegetable breeder Michael Mazourek to "breed a butternut squash to actually taste good" so that cooks wouldn't have to add so much added sugar (like maple and honey) to get a delicious-tasting butternut. Mazourek's response was this adorable tiny squash: the honeynut squash, which does indeed taste like a sweeter butternut squash.
Try these: Mouthwatering Butternut Squash Recipes
In its beginnings the honeynut squash was only available to chefs and breeders, but over the last couple of years it's cropped up at farmer's markets and even a few large grocery chains in the fall months. If you find some, snag a few! Each one serves just one to two people (finally a squash we aren't eating for days!) and they're so easy to prepare. Here's how:
Steady the squash as best you can on a cutting board. Insert the tip of a large heavy chef's knife into the center of the squash in a lengthwise direction. Place a folded kitchen towel between your hand and the spine of the knife and apply pressure to work your knife through one half of the squash. Spin the squash 180 degrees and repeat the process on the other side.
Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and the first shallow layer of flesh for a smoother surface. You can clean the seeds and roast them like you would pumpkin seeds, or discard them.
Our favorite way to flavor honeynut squash is with a simple combination of butter, cinnamon, salt and pepper. But feel free to experiment with any flavor profiles that excite you! We just reccommend about 1 teaspoon of butter or oil and a sprinkling of seasoning (about 1/4 teaspoon) per squash half.
Roast the seasoned honeynut squash on a rimmed baking sheet in a 425°F oven until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. They're sweet enough on their own but if you have a real sweet tooth, finish them off with a drizzle of maple syrup. Serve 1/2 to each person. The halves look beautiful on a plate and the flesh is easy to mash and eat right out of the shell.