Butternut Squash Everything

It’s the star of the season, whether in soup, stews, grain bowls or Kay Chun’s gorgeous pasta with brown-butter bread crumbs.

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By Emily Weinstein

Winter squash, I love you. I love you in soups, stews and grain bowls, roasted with bacon for pasta, nearly melted into risotto and baked into bubbling lasagna. I love you for sweater weather and in the depths of winter, when it gets dark in New York at 5 p.m., and a good dinner really helps things.

We have a lot of standout squash recipes on New York Times Cooking, many of which were conceived as sides but are perfectly delicious for dinner with rice or farro and something like nuts or cheese on top. I’m thinking of this chili- and-cinnamon-roasted butternut squash, this zucca in agrodolce (sweet and sour butternut squash) and this roasted butternut squash with brown butter vinaigrette. You can also serve them with roast chicken, or as a Thanksgiving side. (I make this Ottolenghi squash number for my own Thanksgiving dinner every year.) And, by the way, this squash and green curry soup is the GOAT, the one you’ve been waiting for. It’s by Samin Nosrat, and I don’t want you to miss it.

I got a lot of great emails in response to last week’s newsletter about cravings. I think this one was my favorite: “Cinnamon rolls. Excuse me. That should be all in caps. CINNAMON ROLLS.” Cravings really do call for the caps lock! Keep writing to me at [email protected]. I read every note.

1. Butternut Squash Pasta With Brown-Butter Bread Crumbs

Here’s an excellent tip from Kay Chun: You can boil cubed squash right in the pot with your pasta, rather than roasting or sautéing it separately. This isn’t a hard recipe, but, if you’re looking for something more basic, skip browning the butter with sage, and omit the bread crumbs. Instead, put the pasta pot on the stove, then head straight to Step 4, where you can use about 3 tablespoons of regular old butter in place of the browned butter. The flavors will be less complex, and you won’t get the crumby crunch. It’ll still be great.

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2. Vegetable Maafé

Maafé can be made with meat or seafood, but Yewande Komolafe focuses on vegetables — including butternut squash — in this delicious rendition of the savory and spicy peanut stew. Tomatoes add body, and a red Scotch bonnet pepper brings that heat. As with any stew, it’s even better if you make it ahead.

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3. Spicy Sheet-Pan Sausage and Squash

This incredibly easy recipe from Ali Slagle is one of my favorite dishes this time of year. All you do is roast sausage with the squash on a sheet pan, allowing the sweet squash to soak up the delectable savory fat from the pork. When I’ve made this dish for my kids, I’ve used sweet Italian sausage, rather than something spicy, and served it with farro. They love it. I love it. We all love it.

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4. Roasted Chicken Thighs With Winter Squash

This recipe from Melissa Clark, in which the squash is coated with a maple-butter glaze and roasted with chicken, is wonderful but also a touch too much work for a weeknight. I like to omit the lemon and scallion, making the meal simpler to cook and no less good to eat. (You could also skip the glaze and toss the squash with oil.) Delicata squash is great because it’s easy to handle and doesn’t need to be peeled.

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5. Simmered Kabocha Squash With Scallions

This is another longtime favorite of mine, and it’s a great way to quickly cook kabocha squash. The recipe is adapted from Cynthia Chen McTernan, a blogger and cookbook author who called kabocha her “soul-mate squash.” (I relate.) I serve it over rice, with a fried egg, scallions and chile sauce on top.

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