Butternut squash is one of the joys of fall cooking. Rich, smooth and sweet, this squash adapts itself to many flavors and cooking methods. Try making a rich, mellow soup by pureeing roasted butternut and apples with apple juice, ginger and orange juice, or make a puree with butternut squash, ancho chilies and cilantro. Many recipes list butternut squash by the pound. Occasionally, though, a recipe may measure the squash in cups instead. Cooks often wonder how much butternut squash to buy in this case. A few simple formulas will help you decide.
Weigh the butternut squash. A butternut squash weighing 2 lbs. yields about 3 cups of diced squash after you've removed the peel and seeds. A small butternut squash weighs around 1 lb. and yields 1 to 1 1/2 cups diced squash.
Look at the number of servings the recipe makes. Most butternut-soup and -puree recipes serving 4 to 6 people call for 1 to 2 lbs. of butternut squash, or 1 medium-size squash. Double that amount for a larger group.
Peel the squash carefully so you don't waste valuable squash. Cut the top and bottom off and remove the peel with a sharp knife or peeler. Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, scraping away the slimy residue before cooking.
When in doubt, buy extra squash. You can always roast it and eat it alone or mix it with risotto.
Mix diced butternut with brown sugar, cinnamon and butter and roast on a baking sheet for 35 minutes until browned and caramelized for a quick side dish.
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."