Butternut squash is one of the joys of autumn cooking. Rich, smooth and sweet, this squash adapts itself to many flavours and cooking methods. Try making a rich, mellow soup by puréeing roasted butternut and apples with apple juice, ginger and orange juice, or make a purée with butternut squash, ancho chillies and cilantro. Many recipes list butternut squash by the gram or 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 900 g (2 lb) yields about 3 cups of diced squash after you've removed the peel and seeds. A small butternut squash weighs around 450 g (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 -purée recipes serving 4 to 6 people call for 450 to 900 g (1 to 2 lb) 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 tray for 35 minutes until browned and caramelised for a quick side dish.