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


What are your favorite fall dishes? Share with us on Twitter @ApronsStilettos


Pumpkin Curry Soup With Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Curry Soup 2

In honor of the fall season (and my LOVE for coconut milk) I decided to make and share with you this simple Pumpkin Curry soup recipe. My favorite part about cooking with pumpkins are roasting the seeds afterwards. They’re so easy to make and there are SO many different options for dressing them up: roasted with sea salt, cajun, cocoa…for a sweet treat, curry power, lemon pepper, pumpkin pie spices…oh and the list goes on.

Pumpkin Seeds

The longest part to the below recipe is roasting and peeling the pumpkin so plan on roasting it for at least 30-40 minutes (this can also be done ahead of time). After the roasting the rest is as easy as pumpkin pie. 

Pumpkin Curry Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 medium Sugar Pumpkin – seeded, roasted and peeled
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Sea salt for pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the sugar pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and place them in a bowl to the side. Discard the steam. Rub both sides of the fresh pumpkin with a 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Place the pumpkin, flesh down, on a baking sheet rimmed with foil. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes.

Roasting Pumpkins

While the pumpkin is roasting, clean the discarded pumpkin seeds throughly by removing any left over pumpkin pulp and rinsing them in water with a  colander. Inspired by Elise’s recipe for the perfect roasted pumpkin seeds, I boiled the seeds for 5-10 minutes in salted water. Drain the seeds, lightly pat them dry and then toss them lightly in olive oil. Arrange the seeds on a baking dish, coat lightly with sea salt and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them so that they do not burn! Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

After the pumpkin has slightly cooled, peel and dice it. Melt the butter in a soup pot and then add the pumpkin, onions, carrots, celery and garlic.

Diced Veggies

Cook on medium heat until soft. Add the curry, ginger, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk (reserving a little bit for garnish) and the rest of the chicken stock and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth. Garnish with warmed coconut milk drizzle and roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Serves 4 – 6

Pumpkin Curry Soup