Fall Fest 2010: Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

by Cate on October 12, 2010

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

When it comes to food that I ate growing up, I remember very little of what my Mom made us for dinner.  It’s not that she didn’t cook.  She did.  All the time.  I was just waaay less interested in food as compared to my interest level now.  Oh, that and my memory pretty much sucks.

Some of my favorite stand-out dishes from my childhood include an amazing creamy risotto type dish with salmon (and for years, that remained the only way I would eat salmon), a recipe for Spaghetti Arrlechino that she learned at the hands of an Italian chef when we lived in Italy (which I had to swear not to share here), baked apples and roasted acorn squash.  She used to make the acorn squash with brown sugar and butter, and it was to die for.  Surprisingly, though, as much as I loved it, I’ve never actually made it myself.  Nor any other acorn squash recipe, for that matter.

Until tonight.

When I saw that this week’s ingredient for Fall Fest 2010 included winter squash, I was initially bummed that I wrote about the butternut squash last night, because that would have been perfect for tonight.  But then I remembered the two acorn squash sitting on my counter.  Bought at Sunday’s farmers’ market, they were simply begging to be used.  Tonight was finally the night.

I honestly don’t know why I waited to so long to make this.  The hardest part of the recipe?  Slicing the darn acorn squash in half.  Once you get through that beast, you scoop out the insides and baste it with a mixture of brown sugar, butter and real maple syrup.  Pop it in the oven for an hour and that sweet Fall goodness is yours for the taking.  If you were lucky enough to have a babysitter go to Vermont this summer and bring you back real maple syrup, the good stuff, this is the recipe to whip it out for. The finished product is slightly sweet, slightly sticky and oh so very good.

Need more winter squash recipe inspiration?  Check out what my fellow Fall Festers are cooking up this week in the links below (some might not be live until tomorrow):

Gilded Fork: Butternut Squash Bisque with Nutmeg Crème Fraîche
Caroline at the Wright Recipes: Roasted Pumpkin and Winter Squash with Labneh and Skhug
Alana at Eating From the Ground Up: Fall Vegetable Chicken Pot Pie
Alison at Food2: Pumpkin Donuts
Toby at Healthy Eats: Pumpkin 5 Ways (Including Seed-Studded Pumpkin Bread)
Kirsten at Food Network: Best Pumpkin Recipes
Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Clay Pot Winter Squash

Project 365
October 12, 2010, Photo #177

Girlie Girl

I ran in to Osh Kosh last week to buy the kids some pants. Apparently they have both grown like weeds since last year and nothing fits them for this season. While I was in line paying, Madeline was sitting on the floor behind me, and facing away from me. That’s never a good sign. I asked her what she was doing and she turned even further away so that I couldn’t see her hands. Upon closer inspection, she had pried open a little plastic heart box and was busy shoving the five rings on her little fingers. For $3.40, I avoided her meltdown and we negotiated that she would wear one ring at a time. She had a tough time deciding between wearing the butterfly ring or the cupcake one. These are the hard decisions of a two and a half year old.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter
Recipe courtesy of Cate O’Malley

2 acorn squash, cut in half
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Slice the squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and the stringy bits.  In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, butter and maple syrup.  Rub the inside of the squash with your sugar mixture and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put the squash halves in a baking pan, cut side up and bake for about an hour, until the squash is soft.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne October 13, 2010 at 6:15 am

Personally, I’m happy to get two butternut squash recipes in one week! I’ve actually made something similar to this before…the only Paula Deen recipe I’ve actually made haha. So good.


jan October 13, 2010 at 8:53 am

also very easy in the microwave. Helps make up for the cutting. I don’t use salt or pepper on mine, but add some pumpkin (or apple) pie spice blend. Or some of the usual and expected sweet spices.


chris October 13, 2010 at 8:54 am

Hi Cate,

My boss is a very picky eater (NO VEGGIES) her basic everyday food items are pizza and chicken wings and fries. she wants to loose 20 lbs in 60 days. do you have any quick healthy recipes she could try. she does eat chicken, pork and steak. has 3 busy kids and a hubby so time isnt always there.


sandhya@vegetarianirvana October 13, 2010 at 8:57 am

Your dish is so simple I wouldn’t have thought of it. I would have been tempted to stuff the cavity!

Though here is a very simple recipe for a soup/Indian Dal with split peas and b n squash
1 and 1/2 cups yellow split peas, washed.
1 cup cubed squash [1 inch]
2 medium tomatoes rough chopped
2 green chillies
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
A couple of pinches of turmeric [optional]
5 cups water
Put everything in a crock pot on high for 3 hrs. Puree with hand held blender to desired consistency.
Serve with rice or Indian flat bread. Enjoy. Fat Free! Woo hoo.


Sarah Caron October 13, 2010 at 10:39 am

I make something very similar with butternut squash — Delish! And I’ve heard that microwaving the squash briefly makes it way easier to cut.


Feast on the Cheap October 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm

This is one of my FAVE ways to eat squash of any kind. So delicious…almost like dessert for dinner.

My addition to fall fest is Pumpkin Ricotta Lasagna: http://wp.me/prMEc-E8. It’s OUTRAGEOUS!


Rachel October 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm

i love acorn squash prepared simply like that!
Here’s my Fall Fest recipe for a squash smoothie http://muffinegg.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/squash-smoothie/


Ramona October 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

She’s a little sneak! Your a sweet mom. Ours would have given us that line “wait till your Dad gets home”. And we would have squalled all the way home cause we knew what that meant…..


Kathleen October 13, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Love Acorn squash and cook it all the time. My contribution for #FallFest this week is a pumpkin bread pudding.


Julie Church October 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Please view my contributions for Fall Fest this week, Pumpkin Bars and Maple Glazed Acorn Squash Rings at http://julie-recipes.blogspot.com/ Thank you!


Kris #40 October 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm

We never had it growing up – but I tried it to be polite when I went to someone’s house for dinner when I was in my 20’s. This is the way it was served and it was yummy!

My family won’t try it though. Although my daughter did try butternut squash fries when I made them several weeks ago


Purple Cook October 13, 2010 at 9:21 pm

For Fall Fest:

I made Winter Squash Enchiladas with a squash from my CSA based on an Everyday Food recipe for Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce.


RasDex October 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I’m looking for the baked squash recipe that uses a pan and water where you place the squash halves cut side down on a pan with some water in the pan and bake . Why is it SOOO hard to find a simple instruction on this ie; cooking temp. and time ?


Julie Church October 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Here is a recipe, RasDex, with water, but it is cut side up. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/classic_baked_acorn_squash/


Louise October 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm

I just adore sweet and savory recipes like this, it sounds wonderful.

I contributed to fall fest a roasted apple and squash soup


~Chef Louise


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