Butternut Squash Panzanella

by ihidemychocolate

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aka Butternut Squash Panda Elk

I have a lot of food rules. Whole grains! Less bread! Less sugar! No dessert! It’s exhausting.

In an attempt to be a bit more flexible with what I eat, and to reinstill my joy in cooking … and eating, I’ve been trying new recipes that I think both my husband and I will like. This winter salad is delicious. I adapted it from a recipe that was recently published in the New York Times and it is easily adjusted and reinterpreted to fit your taste and your mood.

It was a big hit and is now in regular rotation. When I texted my husband what we were having for dinner, “Panzanella” (bread salad) auto-corrected as “Panda Elk,” which is now our nickname for this dish.

Butternut Squash Panzanella

  • 1 ¼ pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2” chunks
  • Olive Oil (about 11 Tablespoons)
  • 8 oz bread (stale bread is traditional – I used a high quality loaf of not-stale sourdough), torn into 1/2” chunks
  • 10 oz sugar snaps, trimmed
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 1 small bunch arugula, rinsed, dried, and torn into smaller pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 4 oz goat cheese (optional)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons pignoli toasted (optional)

Heat oven to 425° F. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast 25 minutes or until soft and caramelized at the edges, turning the chunks halfway through. Remove from heat.

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add bread and toast until crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Steam sugar snaps in microwave for about 2-3 minutes, still a little crisp.

Combine sugar snaps, celery, sage, 5 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons vinegar. Let sit for 30 minutes. Celery will soften and absorb the vinaigrette.

Combine squash, bread, arugula, vinaigrette mixture. Add cheese and nuts, if using.

Serves 3 as a main course and 6 as a side dish.

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