Butternut squash remains a constant staple on our table, any of my regular readers are very much aware of my obsession. Seriously though, can you really find fault with trying to serve it in as many ways possible? Bruschetta with Butternut Squash is the latest addition to the La Bella Sorella butternut squash lineup and should immediately be on your must make list. Easy to pull together and satisfying, it is the ultimate fall dinner when served along with a green salad.
Butternut squash is clearly the star of this bruschetta, with the other ingredients playing significant supporting cast roles. Roasting the butternut squash to caramelize the edges creates an intensity of flavor, almost meaty in nature.
Butternut Squash Bruschetta is a dish of few ingredients so you want to select the best you are able. Thick grilled slices of country bread seasoned with garlic and extra virgin olive oil is always a prerequisite; quality bread is absolutely essential. The same is to be said for olive oil, ricotta and Aceto Balsamic. Sheep milk full fat ricotta is my first choice when it is available but this is not always the case. Sheep or cow milk ricotta can be used, but part skim milk or non fat ricotta just does not have the flavor or texture of the real thing.
A few drops of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale elevates Butternut Squash Bruschetta to an even higher culinary level. Artisanal Balsamic vinegar should not be confused with the commercially available vinegar widely sold in local supermarkets. Without a doubt a luxury item, but an excellent substitute is a reduction of commercially produced Balsamic vinegar. Simply reduce the contents of a bottle to 1/3 of it’s original volume over a very low flame. Granted, it isn’t quite the same as the aceto aged for years in family casks, safely tucked into the attic for generations – but a respectable substitute.
Fall menu planning? Take a peak at some additional butternut squash recipes in the La Bella Sorella archives:
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- 4 large 1” thick slices of European stye country bread
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced in half
- 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, cut in half and sliced ⅜ inches thick
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces of whole milk sheep or cow milk ricotta
- ½ cup lightly toasted walnut pieces
- Aceto Balsamico or reduced balsamic vinegar
- Sage leaves for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425 º. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and arrange the semi circle slices of butternut squash on the parchment. Drizzle the butternut squash with oil and turn each slice over to insure that the both sides have been coated with the oil. Season each side with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the preheated oven and roast until the edges begin to caramelize, turning over once during the roasting process. They can take as long as 45 minutes depending upon your oven.
- Heat a stove top or outdoor grill until red hot and grill the slices of country bread on both sides, adjusting the positioning of the slices to achieve cross grill marks. Immediately rub both sides of the grilled slices with the cut side of the garlic clove. Drizzle one side of the grilled bread with some extra virgin olive oil.
- Equally divide the ricotta between the 4 slices of grilled and seasoned bread olive oil side up, spreading a thick layer of the ricotta over each. Season the ricotta with a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay two slices of the roasted butternut squash over the ricotta, followed with a few drops of the Balsamic or balsamic reduction and a few toasted walnuts. Remove to a serving platter and garnish with fresh sage leaves.