Baked Acorn Squash
To buy a high-quality acorn squash, look for one that does not have any soft spots/cracks/mold, has a slightly hollow sound when you tap on it with your knuckles, and has a stem. This cooking method has you pre-bake the squash whole to save the hassle of hacking through the hard rind with your knife. Easier, not to mention safer for your fingers!
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Wash the acorn squash well, then carefully poke it with the knife until you have 10-12 little holes in the rind (to let steam escape, so the squash doesn't turn into a small bomb in the oven.) Put it in the 9 x 13 pan with a small amount of water in the pan, and pop in the oven for 30 minutes, to soften the rind.
- Remove from oven and handle the squash with hot mitts. Cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp. Pour enough filtered water into the bottom of the pan, and place the squash halves facedown in the pan. This allows them to steam, and bakes them without the flesh getting tough.
- Bake for another 30-45 minutes, or until you can easily spoon out the flesh like you would pudding. Top with butter, pecans, maple syrup, spices, or any other toppings you like.