Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

Okay… if the name of this post didn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. Butternut Squash, Ricotta Cheese, and the most perfect Caramelized Onions piled into some nice, thick toast. Oh, and there’s maple syrup. And a bit of spice, too. This is seriously the most brilliant combination of some of my favourite ingredients – completely unexpected, but so amazing. Easy enough for a weekday lunch, but fancy enough to serve guests.

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Out of curiosity… Are any of you guys preparing for this blizzard that is hitting the Northeastern US? I mentioned last week that it’s been an uncharacteristically warm January in Calgary, but on Saturday I was walking to go for lunch, and even I was shocked to see multiple patios full. We’re pretty used to freezing temperatures and crazy amounts of snow, but we certainly know how to take advantage of warmer weather. Anyway, stay safe, if you’re in the blizzard zone – if I were you, I would probably spend my day making soup, but these winter-y squash toasts could be a perfect choice too.

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Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen, via NYTimes Cooking

Serves 4 as a Main, 8 as an Appetizer

1 2 1/2 – 3 lb Butternut Squash (or other yellow squash), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Dried Chile Flakes

3 tsp Kosher Salt

1 Yellow Onion, peeled & thinly sliced

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 Maple Syrup

4 Slices Whole Wheat Country Bread, sliced 1-inch thick

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

Coarse Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1. Heat oven to 450. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare butternut squash, then toss in a bowl with 3 tbsp olive oil, chile flakes, and 2 tsp salt. Transfer squash to prepared baking sheet, then roast in oven until soft – about 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add vinegar and syrup and reduce heat slightly. Cook, stirring, until mixture is very soft and jammy.

3. Remove the squash from the oven, and pile the onion mixture on top of the squash, still on the baking sheet. Smash squash and onions together with the back of a fork and roughly combine.

4. Toast your bread – if it’s too thick for the toaster, put it in the oven on broil for a couple minutes.

5. Spread ricotta on toasts in a thick layer, then pile on the squash/onion mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.

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