The Butternut Crush

While other girls were busy falling in love with their chemistry teacher, I was in the vegetable aisle counting out my change for butternut squash. All rich and creamy, smooth and sultry and ready for anything–that’s my kind of dance partner. You could fry it up in a pan with chili pepper and garlic or braise it in heavy cream with a few leaves of fresh sage, or introduce it to some nutmeg and pecorino and stuff it in a ravioli. If you like it naked, there is nothing better than steaming it up with olive oil good enough to make you cry, garlic, thyme and shallot until tender and ready for a sprinkle of sea salt, more of the emotional olive oil and a shower of parmesan.
For a squash worth a headache and cancellation of an otherwise so so Saturday night, cut a butternut in half and season with salt, and a good rub of butter on the cut side. Roast at 400 degrees until just tender. Cut each piece in half again, and remove the seeds and skin. Cut into chunks. While you are waiting for the squash to be ready for you, reduce a pint of heavy cream with 2 cloves of whole garlic, a sprig of thyme and a sage leaf over a very low flame. When the garlic is soft, push everything through a sieve. Butter a casserole dish, and arrange the squash pieces with cream poured around them. Bake until golden. If you like a little extra, extra–fry up a few more sage leaves with garlic and homemade grated breadcrumbs. When the squash is out of the oven, sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top. This is great with pork chops and fennel.

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