“Man is strangely prone to surround himself with impedimenta; he is perversely given to hunting for the complex.” (from Country Flavor Cookbook by Haydn S. Pearson, 1956)
A dish does not have to be complicated and full of unusual combinations to be first-rate. The beauty of its flavour (and appearance) may lie in the simplicity of preparation and in how few and simple are its adornments.
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Timing Note: The squash may be prepared in advance and gently reheated for low heat before serving.
- 2 Butternut Squash…in size ‘on the small side’: They will roast more evenly and quickly than one big one.
- 4 Tablespoons of melted Butter, plus cold Butter with which to make 8 small Butterballs
- 4 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream
- Kosher Salt and Coarse Ground Black Pepper
- Optional: 8 Fresh Sage Leaves for a pretty garnish
- 1 large or 2 small Rimmed Baking Sheets
- a Food Processor fitted with the Rotary Blade
- a heavy-bottomed Pot with a Lid
- a small Melon Scoop
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. From a stick of cold butter, scoop out 8 small butterballs with a melon scoop and set them aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve the squash. Set aside 8 leaves of Fresh Sage in the refrigerator as well.
3. Slice the two squash in halves lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
4. Place the squash halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet(s). Brush them all over the cut sides with the melted butter. Sprinkle the cut sides liberally with the salt and pepper.
5. Roast the four halves for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender and a knife pierces down through the flesh with ease. (The exact time will depend on the size of the squash.)
6. Let the squash cool for about 10 minutes. Flip them skin-side up and peel off the outer skin with a knife. There’s no need to try to keep the halves in one piece as you peel them.
7. Transfer the chunks from one of the peeled, roasted squash to the bowl of the processor. Process them until they are puréed. (The consistency will become fine and fairly smooth.)
8. Add 2 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream and process again until the texture of the squash takes on a silky sheen. (At first it will seem that the amount of cream is not enough–that the squash is still too heavy. Continue to process a little longer without adding extra liquid and the squash and cream will blend into a really smooth purée.)
9. Transfer the puréed squash to the pot and add the chunks from the second squash to the processor. Process them in the same manner as the first squash (until the chunks form a fairly smooth purée.), then adding 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream and continuing to process until the purée is very smooth. Transfer it to the pot as well.
10. Reheat the squash gently over low heat. Divide it among plates or serve it in small bowls. Place a small ball of butter on each serving…
And a recommendation for an entertaining culinary read: This post begins with a quote from Haydn Pearson’s Country Flavor Cookbook. It is available to read online here in the Hathi Trust Digital Library. Mr. Pearson was an author and syndicated news columnist. “Some years ago,” writes Mr. Pearson in the Foreword to his cookbook, “I began writing in general terms about certain foods. My statements were general, but so many letters began to come in that an editor said I had better learn to cook if I intended to continue writing about food.” He took the suggestion and this charming volume about country-style cooking and memories of New Hampshire country life is the result.
An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.