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Butternut squash, the sweetest herald of fall, is here! We're looking for your best techniques for amplifying its rich, nutty flavor (and we're ready to endure sticky orange fingers to find them). Bonus points for recipes that aren't soups!
These are not your usual contests. We have a slightly nutty
system but it works. Together, the Food52 community has created two
cookbooks this way -- there's no stopping us now. Read about it
A simple array: fresh sage, hazelnuts, garlic, butternut squash, ricotta salata and cayenne.
One of several tortured faces brought about by the slicing of the butternut squash. So worth it.
We cut the squash into chunky, 1-inch wedges, per melissav's instructions.
The pesto ingredients.
Amanda starts the pesto by measuring some olive oil into a pan.
Chopped sage (you want it somewhat fine, as it won't get chopped further).
Sage, oil and garlic warm on the stove until just bubbling.
Meanwhile, the butternut squash wedges get a hit of cayenne. The level of heat is up to you -- we went with the full 1/2 teaspoon and found it perfect.
Make sure to spread the wedges out on the baking sheet so they caramelize nicely. A layer of parchment keeps them from sticking and makes cleanup a snap.
Once the hazelnuts are toasted (we put them in the heating oven for about 7 minutes), it's easy to roll off their skins.
The garlic from the pesto and the hazelnuts have a date with the food processor. Pulse just until it looks like coarse crumbs -- if you too far, you'll get hazelnut butter!
We gently folded the nuts with the sage and olive oil from the pan, then added the ricotta salata and more oil to thin the mixture to the right consistency. You want a thick, but not solid, pesto.
After about 25 minutes in the oven, the squash is almost like candy.
Fresh ricotta, flour, semolina, butternut, fontina, garlic, parmesan, butter, thyme!
We were titillated by the 'suggestive' shape of this butternut. Yes, we're 13.
Semolina is the secret to this crust's light, sandy texture.
We'll say it again: we LOVE food processor doughs.
Drizzle in ice water while pulsing till it looks like this -- then you're ready to wrap it up and stick it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Sliced squash (we aimed for 1/8" thickness and were happy) gets tossed with olive oil, fresh thyme leaves and the first of this galette's one-two punch of garlic.
Merrill tosses away while Amanda grates fontina.
The second dose of garlic roasts -- in its skins -- right along with the sliced squash.
About 25-30 minutes later, we had tender squash and sweet, creamy garlic.
Our favorite dough-rolling technique: between two layers of floured plastic wrap.
Amanda transfers the rolled dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet -- it's now ready to fill and crimp.
Post-roasting, the garlic cloves' skins slip off easily...
... and the cloves mash in smoothly with the fresh ricotta.
Merrill spoons the garlic-ricotta base onto the crust and Amanda gets ready to smear.
Amanda uses the back of a spoon to evenly spread the ricotta while Merrill helps anchor the parchment.
On go the roasted squash slices, willy-nilly.
Fold up the edges -- you really can't do this wrong. It'll be beautiful no matter what!
Scatter fontina over the middle and parmesan over the edges.
Pizza meets quiche meets delicious.
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