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Heat the oven to 450°F.Toss the butternut with the oil in a large bowl. Pour onto a cookie sheet (covered with foil for easy clean-up) and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook in the center of the oven for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. When tender, turn off the oven and stir in the blue cheese and toasted nuts. Let sit for about 1 - 2 minutes, or until the cheese just begins to soften and becomes slightly melted. Mix and serve.
To toast walnut pieces: Place the walnut pieces on a small cookie sheet. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes (at 450°F) keeping an eye on them so they don't burn. My husband has a little toaster oven that I use to toast nuts. When using that, I set it for 350°F and cook for about 10 minutes starting with a cold oven.
My friend and fellow blogger (now retired) Poppy Marler posted a recipe for a Butternut Squash Mash where she topped the mashed butternut with blue cheese crumbles and hazelnuts. That got me to thinking, so I thought up Roasted Butternut Squash with Blue Cheese and Walnuts. Close to the same as hers, but different.
When thinking about how I was going to make this roasted squash dish, I do what I do, go online to see what’s out there, and look at some of my cookbooks to see what is in there. I only found one recipe that seemed close to what I was thinking, that is a recipe from Nigella Lawson, a British cookbook author, and personality, that was for Butternut Squash with Pecans and Blue Cheese. What I thought most interesting about her recipe is she doesn’t peel the squash, and we all know what a PITA it can be to peel butternut squash. It’s not very uniform and the skin is pretty tough to get through with your standard peeler. “Hmmmm…this could make life easier,” I thought, and you all know how I like easy.
Good, and easy.
Not quite ready to take Nigella at her word, I thought I would peel half the squash and leave the other half unpeeled. After baking and completing the dish Brian and I both agreed, peel. The peel doesn’t get tender. It’s like a little bit of silver skin left on a pork tenderloin. It was something we definitely wanted to be removed from our mouth.
So, please, as much of a pain as it might be, peel your squash.
She also didn’t toast her nuts. Always toast your nuts. Always. It makes them …nutty.
One of the easier ways to peel butternut squash is to cut about 1/4 inch off the top, then the bottom then cut the squash in half through the equator. Now that you have a flat surface, hold each half of the squash upright then using a sharp knife, follow the outside curve of the squash cutting away the skin. You don’t have to get to the totally orange part, just get the tough outer skin off. Roasting will tenderize the thin layer remaining.
One other thing I did was, once the squash was roasted and tender, I added the blue cheese crumbles to the sheet and put it back into the oven (now shut off) for just about 1 – 2 minutes, just enough to get the cheese a little melty.
I served this with some simple steamed green beans and Smothered Pork Chops (made without the apples). Delish!
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