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Butternut Squash with Chestnuts and Herbs

Yield: 6-8 servings, but it's easy to make a half recipe — unless you want delicious leftovers

  • 1 butternut squash, about 3 lbs. (you can also use kabocha)
  • 2 Tbs.  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 jar or package peeled chestnuts (5-8 oz.), or start with fresh and follow the directions below
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Sauce:
  • 1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh ciilantro
  • 1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Top and tail the squash, halve it crosswise, put each piece flat-side down on the cutting board, and peel with a knife. Remove the seeds, then cut it into 1-inch cubes.  Place in a large bowl, toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and season lightly with salt & freshly ground pepper. Spread on a parchment-paper covered sheet pan. Roast 20 minutes, until the squash is tender and starting to brown. Add the chestnuts and roast an additional 2 minutes, just to warm them.

While the squash roasts, make the sauce by combining the ingredients in the food processor (start with the smaller amount of lemon juice, and half a teaspoon of salt; you can always add). Pulse to puree to a sauce consistency.

Toss the squash with the sauce, and serve hot.

If you buy fresh whole chestnuts, cut an X in one side, and roast for about 15 minutes, until tender and skins have peeled back. Peel while piping hot (they are harder to peel when cooled).