Opinions vary as to which is the best part of this eye-catching Thanksgiving side dish. Is it the tasty, caramelized edges, or the intriguing visual appearance that makes this side dish pretty enough to be a Thanksgiving centerpiece? Or is the best part simply a practical one – the fact that this recipe can be on the table in under an hour? Quick, pretty, and delicious, this easy Butternut squash recipe uses a short ingredient list (you probably already have everything you need) to accent the natural sweetness of roasted Butternut squash, a favorite winter squash. There are several varieties of winter squash available in the South, including Spaghetti, Acorn, Butternut, and Kabocha, which is a good thing since few vegetables can match winter squash for nutrition, especially when it comes to vitamin A content. The Skillet Squash Blossom is fresh and flavorful; you won’t miss the heavy cheese sauces that usually accompany the summer squash casseroles. Save those calories for an after-dinner treat, and choose from our selection of more than splurge-worthy Thanksgiving desserts, from silky cheesecakes, syrupy pecan pies, traditional pound cakes and reputation-making mile-high layer cakes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash, cut side down, in an 8-inch square baking dish; fill with 1 inch of water. Cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on HIGH 5 minutes. Thinly slice squash, and place in a large bowl.
Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium. Cook bacon 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook until golden brown. Remove bacon, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Reduce heat to medium; add onion to skillet, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup. Add mixture to squash slices; toss to combine.
Starting at the outer edge of the same skillet, arrange squash slices in slightly overlapping concentric circles to form a flower shape. Bake in preheated oven until squash is tender and edges begin to crisp, about 40 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons maple syrup. Top with bacon.