I love Fall!  The leaves changing color, the sun through the trees casting a golden glow, the crisp, invigorating air and the warm smells of slow cooking remind me of all that is wonderful about New England.  It is this that I missed living in Southern California and a big reason we longed to be back on the East Coast every year when Fall came around.

For a few weeks now, I have found myself gravitating toward ingredients and preparations suitable to the time of year…roasting, braising, soups and stews, roots, winter squashes, hearty greens…warming and grounding, to prepare ourselves for the winter to come.  One of my favorite Fall and Winter vegetables is the Butternut Squash.  So sweet, colorful and versatile, Butternut Squash can be transformed into velvety soup, pureed into a filling for ravioli, used as a creative filling for a lasagne, cut in half and stuffed with grains, nuts, sausage, cheese…really anything you want.  For a yummy, simple side dish, which is good enough for the Thanksgiving table, try it roasted and tossed with a winter herb gremolata.  So easy, and yet so satisfying!

Roast Butternut Squash w/ Winter Herb Gremolata

1 large Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
1-2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Pepper
1/4 cup chopped Parsley
2 tablespoons chopped hardy Herbs (Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Marjoram)
1 large clove Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss Butternut Squash chunks with oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Dump the bowl into a baking dish large enough to hold the squash in almost a single layer (an oblong Pyrex baking dish works well).  Place in oven and bake, stirring about halfway through, about 45 minutes, or until squash is soft but not mushy.

Meanwhile, mix together the herbs, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl.  Set aside.

When the squash in done, top with the Herb Gremolata and mix, gently, to combine.  Serve!