Canned Butternut Squash Purée Is Your Gloriously Easy New Pizza Base

In season from late summer to autumn, butternut squash is a transitionary fruit that, come October, always seems to get outshined by its superstar squash relative, the pumpkin. But, while it may never get an appearance on Starbucks' seasonal menu, butternut squash is a star in its own right. Chopped up and roasted in the oven, butternut squash is known to caramelize beautifully, taking on everything from garlic, rosemary, and thyme to cinnamon and sugar. Blended and pulverized, it can be added to anything from pizza and pasta to soups, stews, and curries. It's a proven contender in any seasonal kitchen — only, to get to its nutty, earthy, and sweet flesh, you'll have to get through its tough skin.

The thought of peeling, chopping, roasting, and blending a whole butternut squash at home is enough to ward off even the most dedicated of home chefs. Even with hacks like using your microwave to ease the peeling process or buying it pre-cubed, the demands of everyday life make the nights of scratch-made butternut squash purée few and far between. But, there's a solution to that — one that's so obvious you probably never thought of it before. Rather than committing an hour of your precious time to prepare the squash yourself, you could just buy canned butternut squash purée from the store. Sautéed with aromatics and a few added seasonings, your butternut squash-based pizza or pasta sauce will be ready in a matter of minutes.

Pizza, pasta, and more

Canned butternut squash purée is a pantry staple, one that gives you access to the fruit's optimum fall flavor all year round. By keeping a few cans stocked inside of your pantry, all of your usual go-to butternut squash recipes will take a fraction of the time you're used to, and you won't sacrifice any of that signature comforting butternut flavor. They'll also come in handy as a quick substitute on the off chance you forget to buy your go-to marinara sauce at the store. Sautéed with onions and or shallots, garlic, and rosemary and then seasoned with salt, pepper, or nutmeg, you'll get the same result as you would if you took the time to do it all yourself — only you'll be spooning it onto your pizza or pasta in a fraction of the time.

You can also use canned butternut squash purée for your favorite fall soups, stews, and curries to make the preparation faster and the clean-up less daunting. Simply substitute the same amount of butternut squash purée for the amount of butternut squash you use in any given recipe, and go from there. One can of purée yields about 2 cups, which is the equivalent of what you'd get from one 2 ½-pound squash. It will work seamlessly in everything from your Thai-style butternut squash curry to your favorite chili — providing all the nourishing warmth you crave throughout the cold fall and winter months, all year long.