Spicy Marinated Butternut Squash

1 Dec

My dear friends Drea and Erik made all of the vegetables for our Thanksgiving dinner last week. In addition to raw brussels sprouts with pecorino and green beans with pancetta and pine nuts they whipped up this gem of a salad.  Instantly I became obsessed with it.  OBSESSED, I tell you!  I ate the leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the day after thanksgiving.  It was fantastic cold, standing in front of the fridge at 7 am.  It was INCREDIBLE layered in between turkey and stuffing on the obligatory day-after-thanksgiving-turkey-sandwich and it rounded out my plate of turkey,mashed potatoes and gravy on Friday evening.  Martin and I’s dinner conversation that night went something like this:

Me:  “Mmmmm … I love this butternut squash.”

Him: “I know, it is really good.”

Me: “No, I mean, I really, really love it.”

Him: “I get it.”

Me:  “I don’t know if you do.  I think I want to eat it at every meal.”

Him: “You already have.”

Take another bite and repeat conversation.

As if it wasn’t enough to eat it four times in less than 36 hours, I made myself  some for lunch today.  I adapted the recipe to what I had around the house, thyme instead of mint, pickled shallots instead of raw, red onion.   I omitted the dried oregano. It hits every note: spicy, sweet, sharp, floral, salty. It is glorious.   In fact, think I am going to have some right now.

Marinated Butternut Squash Salad – Inspired by Mario Batali

1/2 a butternut squash, peeled and sliced about an inch thick

Olive oil

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 a teaspoon salt

Red wine vinegar

1 pickled shallot, sliced paper-thin (Raw shallots or red onions work as well)

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed

Roast the butternut squash at 375° until tender, approximately 30 minutes.  While the squash is roasting combine red pepper flakes, shaved shallots and thyme in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the hot butternut squash to the bowl and dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt and toss gently to combine.  Let come to room temperature.  The salad can be made ahead and kept at room temperature until ready to eat.

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