Squash Three Ways
By Susan Olcott

There are so many kinds of squash to explore and they are worth playing around with to be sure. But, I’m going to save the odd ones for later and focus on a familiar one that you might have run out of new ideas for preparing. Butternut squash is such a versatile variety with its hearty texture yet sweet flavor. It is a favorite of kiddos and is also easy to get your hands on almost any time of year in Maine. My affection for butternut squash was enhanced further after reading a super story, Sophie’s Squash, about a little girl who loves her squash so much that she dresses it up as a little baby, taking inspiration from its chunky, curvy shape and names it Bernice. Though her mother had purchased Bernice from the market with plans to cook her for dinner, she sympathizes with little Sophie and orders pizza for dinner. When Bernice starts to get a bit mushy and develops spots, her parents encourage her to select a non-vegetable playmate, but to no avail. Finally, she consults the vendor at the farmer’s market who advises her that squash need dirt, fresh air and love. So, she finds a perfect spot in her yard to nestle Bernice down for the winter. You can probably guess what happens in the spring after the snow melts and she goes to check on her old friend. This is particularly delightful to imagine right now as we are in mid-March, buried in snow, and just hanging on for that exposed dirt and first green shoots. There it was – a sprout! There’s nothing so magical as the sprouting of a seed. She watches it and watches it through leaves and blossoms until little Bonnie and Baxter are born.

As much as I love this story, I also love to eat butternut squash. I’ve had it chunked and roasted and also mashed, as you might imagine from my previous blog posts. I’ve also had it cut in half, seeds scooped out, rubbed with a bit of salt and olive oil and baked. But, recently I’ve found a few other different ways of eating tasty Bernice. One hurdle I’ve often faced is peeling and cutting up the squash. So, if you’re looking for a simple short cut, Spears Farm sells peeled halves of squash at Hannaford and sometimes you can even find it cubed. Or, if you’re really in a pinch, you can even use frozen, cubed squash. But, that kind of defeats the whole fun of using local ingredients.

If you’re okay with cutting up that sweet little Bernice, each of these recipes starts with about a 1-½ pound squash.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

1 butternut squash (1 ½ lb. or so), cut into 1-in chunks

2-3 large local apples cut into 1-in chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1-in piece of ginger, minced

3 T coconut oil

5 c vegetable or chicken broth

Salt and Pepper


  1. In a heavy soup pot, sauté onions in oil over medium heat until soft and transparent.  Add minced garlic and ginger.
  2. Add stock to the pot, and bring to a boil.
  3. Add cubed butternut squash and apples.
  4. Lower heat and simmer 20-40 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  5. Turn off heat and use a hand blender or food mill to puree.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

1 butternut squash (1 ½ lb.), cut into 1-in chunks

1 1-lb box of macaroni

1 2-lb container of ricotta cheese

1 c grated Parmesan cheese

1 c breadcrumbs

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package until al dente.
  3. Drain pasta and toss with ricotta.
  4. Stir in cubed squash and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Put in greased casserole dish.
  6. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs on top and drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

Pork and Butternut Squash Curry

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 butternut squash (1 ½ lb.), cut into chunks

½ yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 T vegetable oil

1 c dry white wine

1 ½ c chicken broth

2 T dark brown sugar

1 lb. boneless pork shoulder cut into 1-in chunks

1 T fish sauce

1 T coriander

1 t cumin

1 t turmeric

1 t cinnamon

1 t lime zest

1 15-oz can unsweetened light coconut milk

3 T lime juice

Cilantro, mint, scallions for serving

1 c Basmati rice

Salt and Pepper


  1. Heat oil in a heavy soup pot. Sautee onion, garlic and ginger along with a pinch of salt for 3 min or until soft.
  2. Add wine and simmer about five minutes or until reduced by half.
  3. Add stock, brown sugar, fish sauce, all spices and lime zest and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in the pork and simmer over medium heat about 20 minutes.
  5. Cook rice separately according to package.
  6. Stir in squash and simmer 20 minutes or until pork and squash are tender.
  7. Add coconut milk and lime juice and bring to a boil.
  8. Season with salt. Serve over steamed rice and top with chopped cilantro, mint, and scallions.