Butternut squash is one of our favorite winter vegetables. It stays in robust condition through the long winter months, and its sweet, creamy flesh is a welcome addition to curries, pasta, soups, salads -- and great just roasted and eaten on its own. Unfortunately, peeling butternut squash is one of our least favorite tasks.Many dishes, including one of my favorite pastas
require roasted cubes of squash, so I can't just cut the squash in half and roast it. It has to be peeled and cubed.
Up until very recently, when confronted with a butternut squash waiting to be peeled, I would sigh and pull out the sharpest peeler I had. I would cut the squash in half, lay the cut side down, and painstakingly peel it like a cucumber. This would take a long time, and it was invariably tiring and tedious.
Then, when I was in France at a cooking class with Rosa Jackson, Rosa had us peel and cut up a butternut squash for a delicious casserole. But she didn't hand us a peeler; instead, she had us peel the squash in a much simpler way. So simple, in fact, I almost smacked myself for not thinking of this sooner.
See how we peel a squash now, in the gallery above. All you do is cut the squash in half (or in thirds, if it's particularly big) and cut off the top and bottom so it's flat and you can stand it on its end. Then you use your sharpest chef's knife and quickly shave off the outer rind.
My husband and I both have become very adept at slicing off the squash skin in a fraction of the time we used to take to peel it in the more traditional way. Yes, you lose a little more squash flesh, but it's totally worth it. We can whip up butternut squash pasta and a new favorite casserole in much, much less time, and without cramped fingers.
Any more good tips for peeling butternut squash?
Related: Recipe: Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Pine Nuts