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Butternut Squash In Season in New York.
Photo: Richard Pierce

A bowl of salted almonds, crudités, some nice olives—all good. But if you really want to keep the interlopers out of the kitchen while you cook this Thanksgiving, send out some of ’ino owner Jason Denton’s delicious butternut-squash bruschetta, the most creative use of a gourd since the jack-o’-lantern. Buying tip: Although you may need a wheelbarrow to haul home a specimen like the one pictured from the Greenmarket, the longer the squash is left to grow, the sweeter the flesh.

’ino’s Butternut-Squash Bruschetta

2 cups squash, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons honey
1⁄2 teaspoon chili flakes
10 caperberries, roughly chopped
10 walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of pepper
1 baguette, cut on a bias into 12 11⁄2-inch-thick slices
6 teaspoons walnut oil
4 teaspoons asiago cheese, grated

Illustration by John Burgoyne.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
(1) Cut squash into 1-inch cubes.
(2) Gently fold the first 8 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Spread mixture evenly on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, then gently stir ingredients, and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, toast the baguette slices in the oven or press on a panini press until slightly crisp.
(3) Scoop a generous tablespoon of the squash mixture onto each piece of baguette. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and garnish with a drizzle of walnut oil and grated asiago.
Serves 6.

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