Del – a – what?? I had never heard of delicata squash either but when I stumbled upon this lovely little squash in the grocery store I was intrigued. I wish I had taken a picture of the squash before I chopped it up and cooked it so you could see what it looks like. I didn’t think ahead. Plus, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would share this recipe because I had no idea how it would turn out. A delicata squash is a white or cream colored oblong squash with green stripes. They are pretty AND turns out, they are delicious. Delicata delicious. If I had to describe the taste and texture I would say that delicata squash taste like a combination of butternut squash and sweet potato.
The other awesome thing about these squash is that they are so much easier to prepare than butternut squash. The skin is thinner and the squash is smaller so it doesn’t require a lot of dangerous hacking with a sharp knife. I don’t know about you but preparing butternut squash is always a challenge for me. The knife always gets stuck in the squash and I wind up having to use all my strength to pull it out, all the while praying that it doesn’t go flying out of my hand. It’s a stressful process. Preparing delicata squash as opposed to butternut is a cinch. You still need a sharp knife but you can definitely cut into these little guys without risking your life or your fingers.
I didn’t know if I was supposed to peel delicata squash so I tried it both ways. Luckily, I bought two squash so I was able to experiment a bit. I left the skin on one and peeled the other. Turns out they come out pretty good either way but if I had to do it again, I would peel them both. The skin is not too thick so you CAN leave it on but after trying it both ways, I prefer it without the skin. I wasn’t sure how to prepare these so this was definitely an experiment. Thankfully I got it right on the first try. That rarely happens.
*Note: I apologize for the lack of measurements in this recipe. I tried my best to guestimate for you in the recipe below!
*Another note: I used a stoneware baking sheet. If you use a metal baking sheet the squash probably will cook faster so check on it throughout the cooking time.
2 delicata squash
grated pecorino romano cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 425.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the squash. Peel the delicata squash. The skin is not too thick so you can leave it on, but I prefer to peel mine. Then cut each squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut each half into three pieces length wise and then cut each of the three pieces cross wise so you wind up with bite sized chunks.
3. Put the diced squash onto a baking sheet (preferable a stoneware baking sheet) and drizzle with olive oil, about 2-3 tablespoons.
4. Sprinkle the squash with garlic salt and black pepper (approximately 1/2 teaspoon of each).
5. Toss the squash with your hands to coat each piece with the olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper.
6. Roast it in the oven for 45 minutes. If you use a metal baking sheet check on it after 30 minutes to see if it’s done. The squash should be golden brown and tender when it comes out of the oven.
7. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of grated pecorino romano cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves over the top. Toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve.