Twice-Baked Honeynut Squash with Brown Butter and Orange

From the moment I first saw a small Honeynut squash at the market, I imagined it halved, stuffed, and boosted with a little roasted sweet potato, brown butter, and orange. This is such a satisfying main course—a wonderfully hearty stuffed vegetable always feels like a complete thought to me. Honeynut is a relatively new variety, so if you don’t see any in your market, sub in small Hokkaido or smaller butternut squash for this recipe. As squash can vary in size, you may have to alter your cooking time based on the variety and exact size of your squash. Most important, and no matter what kind of squash you choose, don’t undercook it—it’s better to judge its tenderness by how easily a fork slides into the flesh than by timing alone since the cooking time for squash can differ so much. Be patient and wait until it’s perfectly tender. It’s worth it, I promise.

Twice-Baked Honeynut Squash with Brown Butter and Orange



  • 4 small Honeynut squash, halved and seeded (see above for other varieties)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • ½ cup packed darkbrown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • Grated zest and juiceof 1 medium orange
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ½ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted and salted
  • 1 large lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Set one oven rack in the middle position and a second rack in the lower-middle position.

    Step 2

    PREPARE THE SQUASH: Arrange the squash halves, cut-side up, in a single layer on a sheet pan. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, melt 1½ sticks of the butter, swirling it often, until the butter solids turn from white to light brown and the butter smells nutty, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour the brown butter over the squash and follow it with the molasses. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, salt to taste, the ground ginger, and cinnamon. Fill the bottom of the pan with about ½ inch of water and cover the pan with foil, crimping the edges around the rim to tightly seal it.

    Step 3

    COOK THE SQUASH AND SWEET POTATOES: Place the sheet pan in the oven on the center rack and set the sweet potatoes on another sheet pan on the rack below the squash. Bake until the tip of a small knife easily slides into one of the squash halves (and a potato), meeting no resistance, about 1 hour (the sweet potatoes may be tender before or after the squash, depending on their size). If either is too firm, continue to bake until tender, checking every 15 minutes. Remove both the squash and the sweet potatoes from the oven and set them aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

    Step 4

    SEASON THE DISH: In a small saucepan, simmer the orange zest and juice over medium heat until reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and use a spoon or a fine-mesh skimmer to remove the zest (discard it). Set the reduced juice aside.

    Step 5

    Carefully scrape the flesh out of the squash halves, letting it fall into a medium bowl, leaving a thin layer of flesh inside each shell so they somewhat hold their shape. Add the reduced orange juice to the squash flesh. Halve the sweet potatoes and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skins. Add the sweet potato to the squash and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, the fresh ginger, and the cheese, and taste for seasoning. Do not overmix or the mixture will become gummy.

    Step 6

    FINISH THE DISH: Spoon the seasoned squash mixture back into the squash halves and bake until hot, 15 to 18 minutes. Arrange 2 halves on each plate. Top them with the pepitas and serve with the lemon wedges on the side.

Reprinted with permission from Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook by Alex Guarnaschelli, copyright © 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography copyright: Johnny Miller © 2020


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