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Zest the lemon into a bowl. Juice the lemon into a separate bowl and discard the seeds. Trim the delicata squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Slice each half of the squash crosswise into ½-inch thick half-moons.
Add the flaky sea salt to the bowl of lemon zest and toss to combine. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of neutral oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the squash slices in an even layer. Season all over with salt and pepper. Cook without moving for 5 minutes until golden brown.
Flip and season again with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until golden brown. The squash should be fork-tender. Don’t be afraid to crank the heat during the last minute or so of cooking to get those nice caramelized edges. Remove the squash from the pot and transfer it to a plate.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until 2–3 minutes under what the package recommends. Scoop out 2 cups of pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
Drain off excess oil from the pot used to cook the squash. Add the lemon juice, plant-based butter, and maple syrup if using. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5–6 minutes until it begins to reduce and thicken. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
Pour in 1½ cups of the pasta cooking water and bring to a boil. Add the sliced basil and the drained pasta and cook, tossing regularly, until the sauce is thickened and the pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes. If needed, add the remaining ½ cup of pasta cooking water.
Gently add the cooked squash and toss gently to combine. Be careful not to break up the squash too much. Taste and season once more to your preferences.
Divide the cooked pasta and squash between shallow bowls. Garnish with citrus salt and a few basil leaves. Enjoy!