This recipe’s bones come from ABC Kitchen in New York, and it’s too good not to share here. I’ve adapted it a bit, both in cooking method and in type of squash -- feel free to roast your squash instead of the way I do it, and also feel free to swap in another kind of winter squash. No one will be worse off for it. Whatever you do, don’t forget the chile -- without it, the squash tends to skew sweet. —Kenzi Wilbur
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ABC Kitchen’s Butternut Squash on Toast
serves 4 to 6, with leftover squash
3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
dried chile flakes, more to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
yellow onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
apple cider vinegar
large loaf of Pugliese, or smaller, thick slices country bread
Dump the squash into a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, add a 1/4 cup of olive oil, the chile flakes, and a hefty, 3-finger pinch of salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat, and cover it. Cook until the squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, lifting the lid occasionally to stir. (As per Amanda Hesser's method, the idea is that the squash quickly sauté and steam.) Adjust the heat if necessary so the squash doesn’t burn. (Alternatively, you can roast your squash at 425° F until tender.)
While the squash is cooking, make the onion jam: In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat, and add the onions, stirring, and cook until they begin to soften and darken, about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and syrup, and reduce until everything is jammy. Depending on the surface area of your pan, this could take as little as 15 minutes or as long as 30. When it looks as though it’s ready to be spread on toast and it tastes tart-sweet, it’s ready.
Add the onion mixture to the cooked squash, stirring gently so as to preserve a few chunks of squash. Taste, and season with salt or more chile if needed -- the mixture should have a nice heat.
Cut your loaf of bread in half along its equator, and lightly toast the bottom half. (If you’re using smaller slices, don’t worry about this step!) Save the top for all manner of things: breadcrumbs, croutons, cheese…
Spread a thick layer of ricotta on the bread, and then the same of the squash-onion mixture. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky salt and a bit of olive oil, then scatter the chopped mint on top.
I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.