SERVES 2 TO 4
1½ pounds peeled butternut squash, cut into 1½-inch pieces
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS For a vibrant and nutrient-dense side dish, butternut squash puree fits the bill. It complements just about any roast beautifully but is also at home alongside sautéed chicken or fish. We wanted to avoid having to cook the hard squash on the stove as we knew it would take a while to soften enough to puree in the blender, so we decided to microwave it first for 10 minutes with water, butter, salt, fresh thyme, and a little brown sugar for a touch more sweetness, which worked perfectly. This softened mixture could then be added to the blender jar and pureed on the hard vegetable puree setting, which also heated the mixture. After about 3 minutes, we had just the right mash to which we only needed to add salt and pepper for seasoning.
Microwave all ingredients in covered bowl, stirring occasionally, until squash is softened, about 10 minutes; transfer to Ace blender. Lock lid in place, then select puree program 2 (for hard vegetables). Once program has completed, carefully remove lid and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
SPICED BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE
Add ¼ teaspoon cinnamon to bowl with remaining ingredients. Substitute 1 tablespoon maple syrup for sugar.