Pretty and delicious, this Maple Pecan Hasselback Butternut Squash is a great way to enjoy butternut squash - cut hasselback style and roasted with maple syrup and butter.
I hadn't planned on sharing this squash dish this week, but after seeing the idea of a hasselback butternut squash in this month's Bon Apetit, we have made it twice this week already. It is a stellar way to enjoy Fall butternut squash and I thought I really just needed to share it.
The beauty of this dish lies in the combination of the deliciousness that is roasted butternut squash, combined with the simple flavours of maple, butter and thyme and the fun way you can eat it a luscious slice at a time. It's a simply perfect way to enjoy butternut squash.
I made some changes from the Bon Apetit recipe, but the concept is similar. I went with the classic maple, butter and pecan with the butternut squash and threw in a little thyme for flavour and because it always looks so pretty.
I think this would be a wonderful Thanksgiving side-dish, but honestly, it's simple enough to make just for any meal and a great way to enjoy the Fall butternut squash bounty.
Cook's Notes for Maple Pecan Hasselback Butternut Squash
Cutting anything in to hasselback shape is not always easy, but I heard a tip some time ago that has made that job so much easier! Simply lay the long handle of a wooden spoon next to the squash as you cut straight down. The handle will prevent your knife from going all the way through the squash. Just be sure to hold your knife completely parallel to your cutting surface.
Don't attempt to cut the slits in the butternut squash without pre-baking it for 20 minutes first. That's a quick way to end up in the emergency room!
If you have a sensitive smoke detector, be aware that the maple glaze cooking on the pan can make a bit of smoke, so open a window and/or keep your oven fan on while it cooks.
Maple Pecan Hasselback Butternut Squash
- 1 small butternut squash (about 8-inches in length)
- Cooking oil, for brushing
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 3 sprigs Fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp pecans finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- Flaky finishing salt, like Maldon's
- Preheat oven to 425F with rack in top third of oven. Have a baking sheet ready (best choice is one that is just a bit larger than the two squash halves.
- Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, trying to keep the two halves as even in size as possible (for even cooking). Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the squash and discard. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin and the whitish layer just beneath it to expose bright orange flesh. Place on prepared baking sheet, cut side down. Brush squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Remove squash halves to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut slits 1/4-inch apart in the squash, cutting almost but not all the way through. *Tip: Place the handle of a wooden spoon alongside the squash to act as a guard to prevent cutting too far down.
- Return cut squash to the same baking sheet. Heat the 1/4 cup maple syrup and 2 Tbsp. butter in the microwave or a small saucepan until the butter is melted. Stir well to combine. Brush with maple/butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle dried thyme leaves over squash, trying to get in the slits a bit, if possible. Pour 1/4 cup water in to bottom of pan, then return to 425F oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, baste with more maple/butter mixture. add another 1/4 of water to the pan and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Tuck 2 or 3 thyme sprigs between a few slits in each squash half. Add pecans to remaining maple/butter mixture and stir to combine. *Note: If mixture has hardened at all, re-warm before adding pecans so it's liquid again. Brush pecan/maple/butter mixture over-top of squash. Add a final 1/4 cup of water to the pan and return to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes, or until squash is tender.
- Remove from oven. Drizzle a bit of maple syrup over each half. Sprinkle with finishing salt.