Saturday, October 6, 2012

Butternut Squash with Sage Crumbs

I like a recipe that is simple, straightforward and delicious.
I like a recipe that I can understand the first time I read it. These are the types of recipes I try to create.

It's that time of year again- Autumn. Everywhere I look, I see squash and pumpkins...all shapes and sizes. This is one of those recipes. Not much to think about- but it will keep you wanting more.
Baked wedges of butternut squash topped with savory, toasty herbed crumbs. You can't get it wrong. I know that typically butternut squash should be served as a side dish, but I love serving this as an appetizer. I bake these delights early in the day (They can even be made up to 3 days in advance and reheated!) and when I set my table I place one butternut squash wedge on a salad plate atop every place setting for each of my guests. Beautiful, seasonal and when paired with a nice glass of red- it's a perfect start to an autumn dinner.

Butternut Squash with Sage Crumbs
Serves 6-10

1 large butternut squash, seeded and cut into wedges (unpeeled)
3/4 cups dried plain breadcrumbs
4 fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon dried nutmeg
a handful of pine nuts, optional
3 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (plus a little extra for brushing)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven 400. Place the butternut squash wedges on a parchment lined baking dish, skin-side down. Cover with aluminum foil. Place the squash in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the crumbs. Place all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor (I use the mini one), and process until finely chopped, and the mixture is crumbly, like sand. Remove the squash from the oven, and reduce the temperature to 350. Uncover, and brush each of the wedges with a little olive oil, and sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over all of the wedges. Return to the oven, and bake, uncovered for an additional 30 minutes until the wedges are soft enough for a fork to pierce through easily, and the crumbs are golden brown. You may serve immediately or serve at room temperature. (If preparing in advance, let cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap and refrigerating until ready to serve. Reheat in a 300 oven for 30 minutes.) Enjoy.

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