There is nothing profound to say about acorn squash that I can think of. You are either a squash person or you are not. Mark is not. My husband sees no point in it whatsoever. He will eat a crookneck squash casserole every summer but that is only because the ratio of squash to cheese, butter and Ritz crackers is about 1 to 20. With the winter squashes, there is no disguising them. Whenever I present Mark with a beautifully roasted acorn squash, I get “the face.” You know, that look of slight disappointment. Oh, you made acorn squash. Joy…not.
But my love of acorn squash is unparallelled. And the preparation is almost always the same. Roast it. The first – and most dangerous – part of the roasting process is to cut the squash in half. This is not an easy proposition. A squash’s exterior is about as hard as a concrete sidewalk in the middle of January. Do not attempt to just hack at it. Acorn squash is round. It will get away from you very quickly. It may even fly off the counter and hit the cat. This is not what you want, of course.
My method involves a heavy knife and a hammer. Simply make a shallow slice in squash parallel to the stem and then whack the back edge of the knife with a hammer. Industrial cooking 101. Then scoop out the seeds and add the goodness. There are no measurements here. I don’t know how big your acorn squash is, do I? Smear the flesh with a goodly amount of butter. Then add in a tablespoon or so of brown sugar. And, just for good measure, drizzle a little real maple syrup on each half. (By the way, as someone who grew up on Log Cabin, and thought it was very tasty, I was shocked to find out a few years ago that it’s mostly high fructose corn syrup with a little maple flavoring added. Get the real stuff. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.)
So then just pop the squash in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. You’ll know it’s done when a fork easily pierces the flesh.