What's to fear? The outer layer. “Acorn and butternut squash are like the ‘turtles’ of the vegetable world, with a hard shell that a lot of people don’t know what to do with,” Allen says.
Get over it: Whip out the great big cleaver that you never use. Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and fibrous stuff, put it on a baking sheet, salt and pepper, and roast it for an hour, which enhances its natural sweetness. Let it cool, scoop the inside into a food processor, and purée it for a simple side. Add chicken stock and simmer, and you’ve got a really hearty soup with a sweet, silky texture.