November 20, 2016

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Bruschettas


Ina Garten's new cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, recently came out.  In the introduction, she describes the act of cooking for someone as an act that says, "you're important enough to me to spend [this] time and effort."  For her, "Cooking is more gratifying and, frankly, more fun when I'm cooking for people I love."  I could not agree more!  This cookbook is a homage to her husband Jeffrey's favorites, and Ina's love and happiness for Jeffrey just exudes through every page of this cookbook.  It is really a fun and happy cookbook!

So many of her recipes are simple with an elegant twist, and today's recipe is just that: butternut squash and ricotta bruschettas.  Most of the time, we think of bruschetta as involving a tomato and basil topping.  Bruschetta itself is just grilled oil rubbed bread, and the toppings are endless.   
I love regular tomato bruschetta, but butternut squash takes it to a whole new level.  It's a great appetizer for Thanksgiving!  

I'm not a fan of pumpkin, but I do like butternut squash.  Butternut squash has a sweeter, nuttier flavor compared to that of pumpkin.  In this recipe, butternut squash is roasted and then combined with caramelized onions.  You put a layer of ricotta cheese on toasted bread and then top it with this roasted butternut squash goodness.  YUM!

Butternut squash can be a pain in the arse to cut up.  Don't let that deter you from making this and so many other butternut squash dishes!  In the produce section of most grocery stores, you can find nicely diced butternut squash.  I've seen it at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and even Costco.  

Happy cooking!

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Bruschettas 
Yields 6+ servings (depending on bread)

Ingredients:
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2-3/4 inch. cubes
2 sweet yellow onions sliced
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. maple syrup, apple cider, or apple juice (I used maple syrup)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Extra virgin olive oil (or "good olive oil" as Ina calls it)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 loaf bread (I used a french baguette, Ina calls for 6 1/2 inch thick rustic country bread)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

Directions:
On a large baking sheet, place the squash, 2 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and the red pepper flakes, and toss to combine and spread in one layer.  Roast for 15 minutes, and then remove from oven to toss once with a spatula.  Return to oven for another 15 minutes to continue roasting until the squash becomes very tender and begins to brown on the edges.   (Total roasting time is 30 minutes.)

While the squash roasts, heat the butter and 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the onions and cook over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring periodically, until golden.  Then, add the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and simmer for about five minutes until the liquid is reduced.  After the squash finishes cooking, add it to the same sauté pan with the onions and mash it lightly with a dinner fork or a wooden spoon.

To assemble the bruschetta, spread a thick layer of ricotta on each bread slice and spoon the squash mixture on top.  Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

** Note: I would recommend toasting the bread before assembling the mixture on it.  To toast the  bread, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toast in a 350ºF oven for 12 minutes.

*** You can also prepare the butternut squash mixture ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat on the stove by adding a few tablespoons of apple cider, if desired.

Source: Ina Garten's Cooking for Jeffrey

2 comments:

  1. These look and sound delicious! I love butternut squash, too.

    ReplyDelete

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