By Ina Garten

In 1978, Ina Garten left her job as a budget analyst at the White House to pursue her dream: opening a specialty food store in the Hamptons. Since opening The Barefoot Contessa, she has gone on to write five phenomenally successful cookbooks.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

My friend Stephen Drucker described a warm butternut squash salad that he’d been served and asked if I could make one. Why not? I love the interplay of hot and cold plus the sweet butternut squash, tart dried cranberries, nutty Parmesan, and bitter arugula.

  • 1 (1 1⁄2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3⁄4-inch diced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 3⁄4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1⁄2 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 3⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add cranberries to pan for the last 5 minutes.

While squash is roasting, combine apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Place arugula in a large salad bowl and add roasted squash mixture, walnuts, and grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately. For this salad, I grate the Parmesan on a box grater as I would grate carrots.

Serves 4