Butternut Squash with Pancetta, Pomegranate Seeds, Arugula, Pears and Asiago Cheese

Butternut Squash with Pancetta, Pomegranate Seeds, Arugula, Pears and Asiago Cheese

One of the benefits of where I work is the opportunity to work with some exceptional chefs. The below recipe shared by  the Executive Chef at Kenwood Vineyards, Robin Lehnhoff-McCray, has it all. The sweet and nutty flavors from one of my favorite winter squashes married with tart pomegranate seeds (I’m on a pomegranate kick right now), crispy pancetta to add richness and texture, spicy arugula,  sweet pears and Asiago cheese for added complexity makes this recipe  the perfect winter dish. Serve it as your main entrée or as an accompaniment on the side.

1 large Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced 1 inch
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pomegranate seeds
8 ozs. pancetta, sliced thinly or cubed and cooked crisp
2 cups fresh baby arugula
2 large Bartlett pears, sliced thin
4-6 ozs Asiago cheese, grated
Butternut Squash Salad How To

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the squash, olive oil and salt and pepper to coat. Place this on a sheet pan and cover with foil. Bake until tender, 15 – 30 minutes (mine took about 20 mins). Uncover and continue to bake until the squash starts to turn brown on the edges. Sprinkle with the cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Set aside to cool.

In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add in the squash. Gently toss together and serve immediately.

Serves 6-8 as main entrée.



Wine PairingWine Pairing

A Merlot or Pinot Noir would be a perfect match to the flavor profiles in this dish. Some personal favorites are Creekview Vineyards Santa Clara Valley Merlot, Benovia Winery Pinot Noir or Jack London Vineyards Merlot.

Fig, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Pizza

Whether you love them or never tried them we are gonna try to make you fall for our fig creations this season. As a nutritious fruit that is mostly produced in California, we are going to share with you a few ways to spruce up your meals starting with figs on an all time favorite, pizza.  Not only are they delicious and different, they add a little seasonal fun to your dishes and are great for parties. You will definitely be the one to make everyone fall for figs.

Pizza Dough, homemade or store bought
4 – 6 figs, depending on size of pizza
Blue cheese
1/2 Sweet Onion
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper
1 bunch Arugula
1/2 cup Pecorino cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Slice the onions to desired thickness and saute in a thick-bottomed pan with olive oil, salt and little butter until nice and brown.
Roll pizza dough as thinly as possible on a cutting board or pizza pill (I like to use a rolling pin to do this.) Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and a pinch of pepper. Cut the figs to desired thickness and arrange them on the pizza. Next, crumble the blue cheese and bake on a pizza stone for 10 minutes or when crust is golden brown. With 1 – 2 minutes left to bake, open the oven and add several slices of prosciutto to the pizza. Continue cooking until done. Top baked pizza with fresh arugula to add a bright peppery finish.

**Variation**
For those of you who do not like onions or blue cheese, try sprinkling chopped rosemary on dough and substitute the blue cheese for goat cheese instead!

Homemade Pizza Dough – makes 4 medium pizzas
4 cups flour (I use high performer pizza flour, but any flour will do)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp. dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt

Mix the yeast with 1/4 cup warm water in a small cup and set aside. Mix together in a separate bowl the flour and salt and slowly add the yeast mixture.  Mix together with the additional 1 1/2 cups of warm water until dough forms a sticky ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size. Once the dough has risen, sprinkle the dough on a flour surface and cut into quarters. Knee the dough for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed. Set the dough aside and let rest for 15 minutes before preparing your pizza.

Did you know? Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches. The blossom is inside of the fruit! Many tiny flowers produce the crunchy little edible seeds that give figs their unique texture.


Other delicious fig recipes: