Butternut Squash with Tahini at Balaboosta ($10)
One of Ed's favorite dishes in the city right now—meltingly soft cubes of squash with appealingly browned edges, drizzled in a complex sweet glaze of housemade tahini mixed with honey, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. We love how tahini can go either sweet or savory; in this case, the dish is a little bit of both.
Yellow Curry of Delicata Squash at Betel ($18)
A main dish that's as complex and hearty as any of Betel's non-veg dishes. It's fragrant with chef Adam Woodfield's curry paste, fried up in the wok before it's cut with rich coconut milk. Plump shallots essentially poach in that curry, while the delicata is roasted with fennel and caramelizes a bit before it's introduced, a sweet counterpart to the curry's complex spice.
Curry Spaghetti Squash at Colicchio and Sons (part of $35/meal)
Queso Fundido With Baked Pumpkin and Sikil Pak at Empellon ($12)
You're going to win us over with a pot of melted cheese any day, but the queso fundido with baked pumpkin at Empellon makes gooey warm cheese even more comforting than usual. The cheese is a stretchy, salty jack, and the pieces of pumpkin are baked until tender, with a bit of golden brown crisp skirting the edges. Fresh flour tortillas are served alongside. Sikil Pak is the grainy salsa; the blend of pumpkin seeds, orange juice, and habanero adds a bright flash of acidity and a subtle heat to the rich dish.
Kabocha Squash Toast at ABC Kitchen ($10)
Squash, ricotta, and bread is hardly a novel combination, but ABC Kitchen's is distinguished by the squash itself. It's roasted with chiles, olive oil, caramelized onions, and both cider vinegar and maple syrup, which lends characteristically autumnal maple-apple notes but in a manner that's both sweet and savory. All that, plus housemade ricotta and no shortage of olive oil, top the Sullivan Street bakery toast. (Sound good? Their roasted butternut squash ain't bad, either.)
Japanese Butter Squash with Ginger at Cafe China ($12)
Honey Roast Delicata Squash Salad at Marble Lane
Season 4 Top Chef alum Manuel Trevino highlights the true sweetness of winter squash in this salad. Roasted delicata squash is laced throughout this salad of arugula, pomegranates, hazelnuts, and topped with a crostini spread with creamy burrata from Vermont. The squash is shaved thinly, tossed in salt, pepper, olive oil and honey and roasted, turning it into something reminiscent of a chewy caramel of concentrated squash. The salad is dressed in a saba vinaigrette (a sweet syrup that comes from grape must).
Marble Lane: 355 West 16th Street, New York NY 10011 (map); 212-229-2336
Pumpkin Salad at The Vanderbilt ($13)
Not the only squash–soft cheese combination we love, but one distinguished by the super-creamy smoked ricotta, its strong, sultry flavor pairing beautifully with the pumpkin's sweetness, cut by pickled shallot with candied pepitas for a nutty crunch.