2 cups water
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Simmer squash in water with 1 teaspoon salt in a 5-quart pot (water will not cover squash), covered, until squash is very tender, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid, then drain squash in a colander.
Purée squash, syrup, and butter in batches in a food processor until smooth, adding reserved cooking liquid if purée is too thick. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in pepper and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt.
• Add crumbled bacon: Cook 6 bacon slices in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, then crumble and sprinkle over purée.
• Add 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger to purée along with pepper and salt.