- Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a small rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, toss squash with oil and salt; spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, leaving space between squash cubes. Roast, stirring halfway through, until squash is tender and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add orzo. Stir constantly until orzo begins to smell toasty, about 3 minutes. Add water, broth and thyme sprigs; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Remove thyme sprigs; stir in half-and-half, cheese and roasted squash. Season well with salt and pepper; serve. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.
- A medium-sized, 2 pound squash will yield approximately 3 1/2 cups of diced squash cubes.
Peel the outside of a whole butternut squash with a sturdy vegetable peeler. Trim the ends and cut it in half lengthwise. Use an ice cream scoop or melon baller to easily scoop seeds and membrane from each half.
Pre-cut butternut squash is widely available in supermarkets and is a great shortcut for time-pressed cooks. Be sure to trim down the pieces to small, even-sized cubes or slices before roasting to allow for better browning.
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