Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I bought a butternut squash's fall, and that's what we're supposed to do! To be honest with you, I find all squash a bit bland for my taste. In particular, I really like any fall squash I eat, be it pumpkin, butternut, acorn, or spaghetti, to have lots of flavor and different textures going on. They're a great ingredient to use -- easily manipulated to take on any flavor profile you wish, adds instant color to any dish or menu, and cheap! -- so I thought I'd research and play around with different recipes to share with you all.

The first I tried out was Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. I basically used her beautiful recipe as a starting off point and added a little here and there to get it the way I wanted. Only thing missing was some bacon!

Roasted Butternut Squash Sald with Warm Cider Vinaigrette      
by Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

1 (1.5 pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4 inch diced
olive oil
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs dried cranberries
3/4 cup  apple cider or apple juice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp minced shallots
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugala, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, adn 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes. 

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Place arugula in a large salad bowl adn add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immetiately.

My Notes:
As you can see above, I didn't use Parmesan cheese. I used a triple cream brie instead and loved the combination. I also think some crisped bacon or pancetta couldn't hurt this salad at all. Overall, a wonderfully colorful and flavorful salad for autumn.

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