Every fall, the sight of winter squashes in all their glory — stacked in bins at the supermarket, arranged in piles at the farmers market — brings me a shiver of joy almost as invigorating as the realization that I can finally turn on the oven at any time of day without worrying it’ll overheat the house. Roasting is my preferred way to cook so many vegetables, and these babies are no exception.
My favorite varieties are the drier, firmer ones such as kabocha, acorn and red kuri, partly because they turn so nutty and caramelized in the oven, but also because they soak up sauces so nicely. A bonus: You don’t have to bother peeling them, because roasting turns the peel perfectly easy — pleasant, even — to eat.
Cookbook author Alison Roman employs the same calculation in her new book, “Nothing Fancy.” She gives roasted squash a treatment reminiscent of the London-based vegetable whisperer Yotam Ottolenghi, piling it on a platter swooshed with yogurt and topping it with pistachios swimming in spicy browned butter. The combination of hot, sweet, salty and sour turns this simple dish into something you’ll be proud to serve for company, making it live up to the book’s ethos of, as the subtitle declares, “unfussy food for having people over.”
It’s a good side dish or app for a party, to be sure, but you don’t have to have anybody over to appreciate it. I made it once for my husband and a couple of guests, then ate the leftovers as a solo dinner over rice. It didn’t look quite as pretty that next day, but the taste was out of this world, once again.