Cubist leanings

SN&R Illustration By Mark Stivers

I love the shapes and colors of winter squash—all those curvy forms and smooth skins are like Renaissance paintings—but when it comes to getting at the earthy, sweet flavors inside, I get a little frustrated. Roasted cubes of butternut squash tossed with brown butter, sage and ravioli are incredibly delicious and perfect for a chilly, misty early winter night, but is it worth the wrist pain? (Let’s not even talk about cutting into rock-hard acorn squash.) You can always precook halves of squash and scoop out the soft flesh, but if you want individual chunks of creamy orange goodness, you’d be out of luck. This fall and winter, I’ve been abandoning sensuous forms for stripped-down, modern cubes of squash, which can be purchased in bags at supermarkets now (the bags of butternut squash at Trader Joe’s are a nice size). Unlike whole squash, the bags don’t make a languid still-life display in the dining room, but they are a lot easier to deal with in the kitchen.