Michael Chiarello

Bottega CookbookIf you’re a fan of TV cooking competitions, you know cheftestants sometimes do themselves in by going overboard with ingredients. Judges remind them to simplify their dishes and allow natural flavors to shine through. 

Chef Michael Chiarello, a finalist on the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and owner of Bottega Napa Valley, gets it. Simplicity trumps fussiness, and his food is clean and elegant. (Check out his recipes for Radicchio Salad and Home-Style Minestrone.) 

As noted yesterday, the roasting process is ideal for winter squash, as the vegetable’s natural sugars caramelize as it cooks. Add some organic butter, salt and pepper, and you have an easy-to-prepare side dish for your Thanksgiving table.

Chef Michael Chiarello’s Roasted Winter Squash 

Makes 1½ cups 

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups diced (3/4-inch) raw winter squash (butternut, Hubbard, acorn)
Salt and pepper

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat butter over medium-high heat in an ovenproof sauté pan. Add diced squash, salt and pepper.
  3. When squash begins to brown, place pan in oven. Roast for 15 minutes, or until medium-brown on all sides. 
  4. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly. Purée in food processor, or mash with a potato masher or ricer

Photos: Michael Chiarello, Amazon.com