Butternut squash can be daunting because of its thick shell, but with a little patience, you can have it prepped, cooked and on the table as a tasty side dish in 20 minutes. If you have aged balsamic vinegar, add a very small drizzle over the top for a touch of rich, sweet flavor.
Cut the bulbous bottom of the squash off from the long top. Split the bottom in half through the root end and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the long part in half lengthwise. Peel or cut off the rind, then cut the flesh into 1-inch pieces.
Add the squash to a 4-quart pot, add enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook, covered, over high heat, about 18 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cover. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes more. (There should be no resistance, but the squash should not fall apart. Be attentive: It can overcook very quickly and absorb too much water, making your mash soupy.)
Meanwhile, toast the coriander in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until aromatic, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
Strain the squash in a colander. Return it to the pot, add the butter and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Add the zest, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the toasted coriander and salt to taste and stir to combine. When serving, drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon syrup over the top and dust with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon coriander.
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