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Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic Vinegar*

Serve this squash the way it's eaten in country houses in the part of the Emilia-Romagna region where nearly every family makes its own balsamic vinegar. Small bottles of balsamico are set out on the table, and everyone seasons their squash to taste with the vinegar. Try the squash with grilled lamb chops, roast chicken, pork and simple sautéed fish dishes.

1-1/2 to 2 lbs butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp artisan balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena or Reggio-Emilio), or 3 to 4 Tbsp high-quality commercial balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Cut the squash lengthwise in half. Seed and cut it into 3- to 4-inch squares, with skin intact. Score the flesh with crosshatch cuts about 1/2 inch deep. Rub all over with olive oil.

Set the pieces, skin side down, on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife and lightly browned. Serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with the balsamic vinegar.

Serves 6 to 8

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