Holy Hannah, this was good. We had a butternut squash from our CSA box, and it was looking so pretty on our kitchen counter that I waited a few weeks to hack into it. That’s the thing about winter squashes – they’re pretty, and they last a long time. The butternut variety always, always make me think of the Veggie Tales. I usually just roast butternut squash in its skin, and then add butter and brown sugar to serve. It’s easy, it involves minimal cutting, and it tastes so good. We had already used that method for some delicata squash that arrived earlier in the season, so we were game to try something new. (And if we’re really hankering for the butter and brown sugar recipe later in the season, the squashes are plentiful and cheap for a long time). Because of my favored roasting-in-the-skin method, I had never actually peeled a winter squash before, and it always seemed like such a pain. Trader Joe’s sells a frozen, peeled, cubed butternut squash, but I think that’s probably better suited for soups and purees than roasting. It turns out that my apprehension about peeling was unfounded. A simple vegetable peeler made quick work of the skin, and once it was peeled, the chopping was easy. (By the way, my favorite peelers and paring knives are from a little Mennonite store called Weaver’s Country Store in Augusta, Wisconsin. If you’re in the area, I recommend the trip. They mostly have (very inexpensive) dry goods.)
The recipe for Maple Roasted Butternut Squash (on p. 158 of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics) also called for a handful of fresh sage. Thankfully, my sage plant survived our recent snow (unlike some other poor unfortunate souls), and I had plenty of leaves to complete the recipe. Also in this recipe: garlic (which is plentiful from our CSA), and pancetta (for which I substituted prosciutto, simply because the pancetta looked rather grey). I felt completely decadent in enjoying this for lunch on a weekday.