Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and MascarponeNow that I live in the boonies and have to drive to the grocery store like a normal, I have a bad habit of buying way too many vegetables at once. I have such optimism in the produce aisle, thinking of all the tasty things I’ll make, but time gets away from me and eventually, with great shame in my heart, I end up with a bin full of bendable carrots and fuzzy broccoli rabe.

But I never, ever regret buying too much winter squash (like acorn, delicata, kabocha and butternut). Those things last for-fricking-ever. I mean, I don’t just adore them because of shelf-life. That would be silly. “Hey, you lazy bastards. Wanna make something that won’t rot?” Damn, I should have gone into advertising. I think I have a knack.

Anyway, I’ve had this butternut squash sitting on my counter for at least 3 weeks (lie, 5 weeks) and look; still perfect! Butternut squash is packed with fiber, vitamins A and C so it’s a great, healthy alternative to mashed potatoes and look at that color. It’s like being punched in the face by fall!

We had it with Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic. It’s a great combination.

Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and Mascarpone

Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and MascarponeI can’t believe there are actually instructional videos online on how to peel and cut up squash like it’s some difficult ta…you’re looking at it right now, aren’t you? I’m not judging. Really, that’s not my judging face, it’s my regular face. Seriously though, just use a vegetable peeler to get most of the skin off, scoop out the seeds and chop it up. No biggie.

Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and Mascarpone

Most recipes for mashed butternut squash call for boiling or roasting it whole but I really like the caramelized flavor it gets from roasting the cubed pieces. It also speeds up the cooking time which is always a plus. Toss a few garlic cloves onto the same pan and they’ll turn sweet and nutty in the same time it takes to cook the squash.

Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and Mascarpone

 

Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and Mascarpone

 Nerd Tips:
  • When buying butternut squash, look for ones with a… sorry, there’s no way to say this without sounding like a perv… look for a long, thick neck and a smaller bulb. Most of the flesh is in the…shaft. Yes, I am twelve. Also, keep it on the counter, not it in the fridge.
  • This would work perfectly as a Thanksgiving side dish.
  • Recipe can be easily doubled but use a 2nd sheet tray if the squash won’t fit in a single layer.
  • You can make this up to 2 days ahead, reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, on low, stirring often. Add a bit of water or milk if it’s too thick.
  • If you like a bit of sweetness, add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup while mashing.
  • For a vegan version, substitute coconut cream and vegetable stock for the mascarpone and milk.

Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and Mascarpone
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Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ¾ inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (about 4 sprigs)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, room temp (or use sour cream)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Peel, seed and chop the butternut squash into roughly ¾ inch pieces. Place on a sheet tray with the whole, peeled garlic cloves and toss together with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread everything out in a single layer.
  3. Roast on the middle rack. After 20 minutes, add the thyme and turn squash and garlic so the other side browns. Cook for another 20-25 minutes. You want the squash to be very tender and just lightly brown.
  4. Remove from oven and place squash and garlic in a bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the squash and garlic until it’s all mixed up and you can’t see any more chunks. If you like a very smooth texture, you could pulse it in a food processor instead. I like it more rustic so I just mashed mine in the bowl.
  5. While it’s hot, add the mascarpone (or sour cream), butter and 2 tablespoons milk. Stir until smooth and creamy. If it’s still too thick, add more milk a little at a time until you like the consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.