A Delicata Balance

Make one of L’Artusi’s best dishes at home

You'll hear a lot about L'Artusi in 2009. Only a couple of weeks old, the second restaurant from chef Gabe Thompson and 24-year-old wine wunderkind Joe Campanale (who are also behind nearby dell'Anima) is already white-hot, its 120-seat dining room packed nightly with scenesters gorging themselves on Thompson's seasonal, $20-and-less Italian plates.

The least complicated dish on L'Artusi's menu—listed simply as "delicata squash, sage, butter"—is also its most addictive. To make it, Thompson cooks slices of this underappreciated winter squash variety (which tastes remarkably like sweet potato) in sage-infused butter until they turn a deep caramelized brown. A drizzle of honey intensifies the squash's inherent sweetness, while a sprinkle of fried sage brings out its earthy character.

When we couldn't stop dreaming about this sweet-sticky-salty side dish, we asked for the recipe—and now it's our gift to you. Happy holidays!

Delicata Squash with Sage and Honey

Adapted from L'Artusi

Makes 4 side-dish servings

1 delicata squash (with skin)—halved, seeded and sliced crosswise into ¼-inch half-moons (see Note)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 sage leaves, torn into pieces

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon honey

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the sage and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels.

2. In the same skillet, add the squash in a single layer (you may need to cook the squash in batches, depending on the size of your pan). Cook the squash over medium-high heat, turning once, until deeply browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the honey and toss to coat. Garnish with the sage and serve immediately.

Note: Delicata squash is pale yellow with green stripes. You can find it at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market.

L'Artusi, 228 W. 10th St. (between Bleecker and Hudson sts.); 212-255-5757 or lartusi.com