Bruschetta of Roasted Honeynut Squash, Ricotta Salata, Pumpkin Seeds and Fried Sage
Seasonal Bruschetta Recipe by Chef John McConnell
Winter produce is now in abundance at our Clif Family organic farm. Chef John has created this delicious seasonal bruschetta using Honeynut squash, one of our favorite heirloom squash varieties that we grow at the farm. If you can’t find Honeynut squash, you can substitute any butternut squash.
1 each butternut squash (honeynut variety recommended), medium size
1 small bunch fresh sage leaves
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup Clif Family Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for bruschetta and finishing
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 slices bread, from bread made in a large loaf pan sliced end-to-end
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 oz ricotta salata, crumbled
Flake sea salt to garnish
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut the squash in half length-wise and remove the seeds. Drizzle olive oil on skin and flesh side just to coat. Season liberally with sea salt and roast the squash flesh side down for 30-40 minutes just until can be easily pierced with tip of a pairing knife. Once squash is cool enough to handle, carefully scoop flesh into a food processor.
Chop on high until the flesh has reached a very smooth consistency and season with sea salt and pepper if desired and set aside. In a small sauce pot, begin to heat the olive oil in the pan until hot, carefully add sage leaves a few at a time and remove once they have become crispy. Transfer the sage leaves to a plate lined with paper towels and season lightly with sea salt. Repeat until you have adequate amounts of sage fried. While oil is still hot, add pumpkin seeds and toast until popping has occurred or until they have become lightly golden brown. Carefully strain pumpkin seeds and reserve olive oil. Once olive oil has cooled, add balsamic vinegar to create a “broken” vinaigrette.
Toast or grill bread slices well on both sides; the center should remain soft. Immediately rub one side of each toast with a halved clove of garlic. Brush both sides of each toast with olive oil. Transfer the toasts to a work surface, garlic side up.
Top with squash puree, dividing it evenly. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds, fried sage leaves and cheese. Cut each slice into six pieces and serve immediately.
Serves 6 as an appetizer.