1tablespoonpure maple syrupplus additional to taste
1teaspoonkosher saltdivided, plus additional to taste
1/2teaspoonblack pepperdivided, plus additional to taste
1/4teaspoonground nutmegfreshly grated if possible
1/4cupalmond milk or milk of choiceuse half and half or full-fat coconut milk for a richer flavor
2tablespoonsParmesan cheese or nutritional yeastoptional but very good
2tablespoonschopped fresh parsley
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Wash and dry the squash. Trim off the top and bottom ends, then carefully slice it in half lengthwise. (No need to peel it.) Scoop out the seeds. Place it cut-side up on the prepared baking sheet.
Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the maple syrup. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or longer depending upon the size of your squash, until very tender and the squash pierces easily with a fork. Let rest until cool enough to handle.
Carefully scoop out the flesh and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, milk, Parmesan, parsley, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mash the butternut squash, either by hand with a potato mixer, or with an electric hand mixer on low speed, or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer on low speed, until it is as smooth as you like (we leave ours a bit chunky). Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like. Enjoy hot.
TO STORE: Place leftover mashed butternut squash in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm the mashed squash in a Dutch oven on the stove over medium-low heat, adding a splash of milk as needed for moisture. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave.
TO FREEZE: Store butternut squash in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Cut the squash in half, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day in advance. You can also cut, roast, and scoop out the squash ahead of time. Store the roasted squash in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance, then finish the recipe as directed.
TO MAKE WITH STEAMED OR BOILED BUTTERNUT SQUASH: To make this recipe with steamed or boiled butternut squash instead of roasted, see blog post above for tips.