Lemony Ricotta Crostini with Roasted Butternut Squash & Crispy Sage

Butternut Crostini

Hosting a gathering this holiday season? Whip up this easy-to-make fall appetizer inspired by a recent recipe I stumbled upon from Bon Appétit. I reserved some extra uncooked butternut squash cubes from Tuesday’s Butternut Squash Lasagna blog post in anticipation to today’s recipe. The fluffiness from the ricotta and brightness from the lemon really complement the butternut squash…making this a beautifully balance and easy hors d’oeuvre.

Baking Crostinis

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • Sage leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • Finely grated lemon zest, to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Baguette slices, toasted
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Brown Sugar Butternut Squash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush bread slices with olive oil and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes. While crostinis are in the oven, begin to peel, seed and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Coat squash with olive oil and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper and arrange squash pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Remove crostinis and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Roast squash, turning occasionally, until squash is golden brown and tender (about 20 -25 minutes.) Allow to cool.

Sage for Crostinis

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium – high heat. Fry sage leaves for about 30 seconds to 1 minute – until edges begin to curl and leaves begin to turn dark green. Careful not to burn the leaves. Transfer leaves to a paper towel to drain. Begin ricotta mixture by combining cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Spread ricotta mixture on crostini and top with a few cubes of butternut squash. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on bread slice and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fried sage leaves.

Butternut Squash Crostini

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving! ~Crystal

Roasted Butternut Squash, Garlic & Rosemary Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

The fall season calls for deliciously irresistible winter squash and butternut squash is one of my all-time favorites. Last night I had the opportunity to hang out with Chef Don Garrett from Wine Country Artisans Catering who made an AMAZING homemade butternut squash ravioli. These raviolis were hands down the BEST butternut squash raviolis I’ve ever tasted (perhaps we will have a blog post soon and Don will share with us his recipe!) Nevertheless, as I was eating his leftovers this afternoon for lunch, I got inspired to whip up something tonight for dinner that incorporated this wonderful autumn squash. In the past, I’ve made butternut squash soup, roasted squash with thyme and butternut squash risotto… hmmmm, I have lasagna pasta sheets – let’s make lasagna! I haven’t made lasagna in a long, long time so this was the perfect dish to make. Not only is this dish comforting — a perfect pair to the cooler weather — but it’s easy to make.

Prepping Lasagna

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • No-boil lasagna pasta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Butternut Sqash Lasagna

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss fresh butternut squash pieces with olive oil and lightly season with salt. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir butternut squash and roast for another 10 – 15, until tender and golden.

While squash is roasting, melt butter in a large saucepans. Add garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant (1 minute). Stir in flour and cook roux, stirring for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add milk, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook and stir frequently until thickened yet smooth – about 5 – 8 minutes. Stir in roasted squash.

Butter a casserole dish and pour some sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Begin layering the lasagna pasta sheets. Spread the sauce on top of the noodles and sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering noodles, adding the sauce and finishing with Parmesan cheese. Pour heavy whipping cream over the top of the entire dish and sprinkle a little more cheese. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Allow dish to cool for about 5 minutes. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Serves 4 – 6.

Wine Pairing? Try pairing this decadent dish with a rich & buttery Chardonnay. Do you have a personal favorite? Share with us in the comments below or on twitter!

Enjoy! ~Crystal


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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.