Winter squash have thick outer rinds, which make them great for storing but can also make them difficult to cut. Here are some tips to help!
To soften rinds in the microwave or oven, remember to pierce holes in the squash first and foremost! Use a knife or fork to pierce around 8 holes into the rind. Each cut should be about 1/2 inch deep. Then microwave the squash on high for around 4 to 6 minutes, or bake the squash for 15 minutes on 375°F. Let cool before cutting. Alternatively, some chefs prefer to bake the squash entirely with the rind still intact. Just remember to pierce your squash all over.
Cutting into the thick rind using a knife, mallet (or wooden rolling pin) and towel to protect your hands and knife is another method to cut squash. Score a groove in the squash before you start cutting on either side of the stem to avoid the toughest part of the grind. Position your knife in the groove, then cover the knife with a double layer of towel. Use the mallet to pound the knife through the squash.