Butternut Squash Is the Ultimate Winter Comfort Food

Craving a warm embrace from the kitchen? Butternut squash delivers.

Perhaps because of its versatility and ubiquity, almost everyone seems to have memories associated with butternut squash. Though it’s a cold-weather vegetable, I have found that the memories we keep about it are invariably about warmth. They’re about home, or an idea of it.

For me, it’s the smell of squash roasting in the oven, years ago, and my father avoring it with a large pat of butter and a generous drizzle of maple syrup. We ate the tangerine esh with two forks straight out of its skin, a spontaneous meal that was always served at odd hours of the night. It was one of the few dishes I remember him making.

I remember preparing it for myself, many years later, in a manner far more savory than sweet. Once it was roasted, I pureed the squash and coaxed it into a quivering risotto speckled with pancetta and Parmesan cheese. I shared the meal with my neighbors, an older couple who had become my family away from home. We ate it with three spoons straight out of the pot, steam billowing o the rice as its heat collided with the November air in my drafty kitchen o the coast of…

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