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Special to The Washington Post

Cranberry-Glazed Butternut Squash

6 to 8 servings

I look for simple ways to dress up vegetables without too much fuss or too much fat. This is a recipe I came up with that would be a lovely addition to any meal and especially good for a holiday dinner. It looks good, tastes good and is unmistakably seasonal.

MAKE AHEAD: Roast the squash and prepare the glaze an hour or two before you're ready to serve. Let everything sit at room temperature. Then brush the squash with the glaze, using a knife to spread it if the glaze has gotten stiff. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes to warm the squash and set the glaze.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

About 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

About 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 small butternut squash (1 to 1 1/4 pounds each) or 1 large (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), stem and top trimmed, small ones cut into quarters lengthwise and seeded, large one cut into sixths lengthwise and seeded

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1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Juice and finely grated zest from 1/2 orange (2 tablespoons of juice and 1 teaspoon of zest)

2 tablespoons brown sugar, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fresh chives or flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (two tablespoons), for garnish

Steps

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use 2 tablespoons of oil to grease the foil.

Combine the nutmeg, ginger, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.

Place the squash wedges cut side down on the foil, turning them to coat all of the cut sides of flesh evenly with the oil. Arrange so the cut sides are facing up, sprinkle with the seasoning blend, then bake until tender: 30 to 40 minutes for small wedges and 50 to 60 minutes for large wedges. Transfer to a serving platter as they are done and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, make the cranberry glaze: Combine the cranberries, orange juice and zest, brown sugar and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the berries pop or can be easily mashed with a spoon. Remove from the heat, making sure all berries are mashed. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil and the vanilla extract; mix well.

If necessary, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Return the wedges to the same roasting pan, cut side up. Use all of the glaze to brush the cut sides of the squash. Bake for 5 or 6 minutes to set the glaze. Transfer the wedges to a serving platter; sprinkle chives or parsley over the wedges and serve warm.

NUTRITION Per serving (based on 8): 77 calories, 1 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 78 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

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