Butternut squash is a variety of winter squash valued for its slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It is a commonly grown garden vegetable and is easy to prepare in the oven. Although the basic cooking method remains the same, butternut squash can be seasoned to taste using your favorite herbs and spices. Once the squash is baked, it can be eaten immediately, stored in the refrigerator for serving later or pureed for use in various recipes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the butternut squash thoroughly with a vegetable brush under cool, running water to remove external dirt and debris.
Place the butternut squash onto a large cutting board and slice in half with a butcher's knife. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and strings. Sprinkle the cut sides of the squash halves with salt to improve flavor, if desired.
Fill a large baking dish with about 1/4 inch of water. Place the butternut squash halves into the dish with the cut side down. Place the pan in the oven and bake uncovered until tender when pierced with a fork, usually about 45 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and drizzle the butternut squash halves with melted butter. Slice the halves into quarters and serve immediately. Sprinkle with brown sugar just before serving, if desired.
Store leftover baked butternut squash in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week before discarding any unused portion. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes or in the microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes.