1 large butternut (3 pounds) or several Delicatas
3 Tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Tbs. butter
2 shallots or onions, finely diced, about 1/3 cups
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup peeled pistachios, preferably unsalted, slivered or chopped
1 Tbs grated zest from one Meyer lemon or orange
6 dates, pitted and chopped
2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
1 Tbs chopped mint
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
juice of 1 Meyer lemon
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly butter a large baking dish. Peel the neck of the squash and slice into rounds about 1/3 inch thick. Heat the oil in a wide nonstick skellet. Add the squash in a single layer and cook over medium heat until golden, then turn and brown the second side, 8 to 10 minutes each side. When the pan becomes dry, add 1/3 cup water. Cover the pan and steam the squash until tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Check while it's cooking and add more water as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a med. skillet over med-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook without browning, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes.
Add the nuts, zest, dates, herbs, and cinnamon and raise the heat. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and some pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes then add the lemon juice, cook for 1 minute more, and turn off the heat.
Arrrange the squash rounds in the baking dish and scatter the dates and nuts over them. Add 1/4 cup water and bake until heated through and the toppin gis barely crisped, about 15 minutes.
Adapted from Deborah Madison's "Local Flavors"