Casual Friday: Butternut Squash Crostini with Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate
TGICasual Friday, friends! We have badass finger food and all kinds of exciting internet things to chat about today, so let’s get right to it.
First order of business: Butternut Squash Crostini with Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate. These sassy little numbers are one of my favorite bites in recent memory—and given last week’s epic T-Day feast, that’s saying a lot. A LOT, dammit. The flavors of sweet and savory butternut squash, earthy Brussels sprouts, and sweet-tart pomegranate are a match made in holiday heaven, but to really do this recipe justice, I feel the need to break things down for you layer by insanely delicious layer.
Starting with the butternut squash puree! Cubed squash gets tossed with a little olive oil, cinnamon, and salt, roasted until tender and lightly caramelized, then blitzed with creamy ricotta to fluffy, spreadable perfection. (I like to go all out and use a whole milk Buffalo ricotta, but calorie counters may use skim ricotta if they must.) That silky madness is slathered on crisped slices of seeded baguette and topped with a petite mound of shaved and lightly charred Brussels sprouts. Each crostini is finished with a few juicy pomegranate arils and BOOM. Teeny-tiny bites of heaven.
Flavor fireworks excluded, what I love most about this recipe is that each element can be fully prepped in advance (puree made, sprouts sautéed, pomegranate seeded, and baguette toasted), so that all you’ll have to do come party time is assemble the crostini. And assembly shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes, max, even after the requisite pre-party glass of vino. WHOOP.
Speaking of vino, you know I’ve been looking to up my wine game these days, and I’m very excited to announce that December will be Vinho Verde Month on Domesticate ME! Vinho Verde is a well-known wine-producing region in northwest Portugal, and it produces some fabulous wines that I’ve had the pleasure of learning about and tasting of late. There’s been a real quality revolution in the region over the past few decades, which has translated to some exciting varietal (aka single grape) wines in addition to the traditional blended styles that Vinho Verde is famous for, and I’m very excited to help spread the word.
The most notable thing about these wines is that they’re incredibly versatile. Their refreshing acidity and light body means that they pair well with a wide variety of cuisines, including those tricky ones that are big on spice and heat. I have a feeling you’ll share my Vinho Verde obsession—especially since the wines really over deliver for their very approachable price—and I can’t wait to share some of my favorite bottles and recipe pairings over the next few weeks. We’re all going to be fancy wine experts!!
p.s. This crostini woud be delightful with any Vinho Verde wine, but I’m partial to the Quinta da Lixa Pouco Comum Alvarinho 2015. It’s light and fruity nature plays very well with the sweetness of the butternut and pomegranate.
Moving on to Internet nonsense!
I’m only mildly ashamed to admit I watched the Gilmore Girls reboot last weekend. Honestly, I recommend saving yourself the 5 hours and reading the Vulture recaps instead. (Also, if anyone wants to discuss the ending, you know where to reach me.)
It’s Schweddy Ball season!!
I appreciate that someone took the time to put every installment of Carpool Karaoke in one place. It’s very helpful when I need to procrastinate.
This is old news, but I still can’t get over Lindsay Lohan’s new accent. (I’ve watched this interview like six times.)
As always, there are too many things I want to make and eat on the web this month…
Twice Baked Delicata Squash and Crispy Za’atar Roasted Chickpeas is my fantasy #MeatlessMonday dinner/Tuesday sassy desk lunch.
If you love Brussels even half as much as I do, you’ll probably also want to eat Molly’s Fried Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Parmesan, and Breadcrumbs at every meal. Forever. (Starting for breakfast with a poached egg. Duh.)
Adrianna’s Pumpkin Raclette Stove-Top Mac and Cheese with Jalapeños has No-Calorie Sunday written alllll over it.
Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Soup is the best kind of comfort food—big on flavor and health benefits. I’m thinking it would be particulary delightful with a Sriracha swirl…
I’m always on the lookout for a new creative ‘dilla, and these Smashed White Bean and Kale Quesadillas with Creamy BBQ Dip look bomb.
The Ultimate Winter Bliss Bowl seems like the most delicious way to do some light cleansing in between all the holiday feasting.
I don’t really like to give food presents because I don’t really like to receive food presents (I prefer clothing, kitchen items, and booze), but this Salted Rosemary Pecan Brittle may just change my tune.
Perfect Molasses Crinkle Cookies are what Christmas cookie dreams are made of. I don’t even care that I have to chill the dough for 2 hours.
I very much look forward to sipping Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate during my annual viewing of Love Actually this weekend.
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding will likely turn my apartment into a pumpkin spice-scented paradise, and I’m appropriately excited.
- 2 cups butternut squash diced into ¾-inch cubes a little less than 1 medium butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons plus 2½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup ricotta cheese I like whole milk ricotta for this, but part-skim will also work.
- ¼ pound Brussels sprouts about 6-8 medium sprouts, washed well, stems and any blemished outer leaves removed
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ baguette sliced into ¼ inch slices about 25 slices
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with 1½ teaspoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the ground cinnamon and a good pinch of kosher salt. Toss to combine, then arrange the squash in an even layer, making sure to leave a little bit of space between each cube. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time, until the squash is very tender. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, prep the Brussels sprouts. Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise, and then slice them very thinly crosswise. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the sprouts in an even layer and cook, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes so that they get a nice little char on the bottom. Add a pinch of salt and a little pepper (if you like) and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring periodically, just until tender. Stir in the lemon juice and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the sprouts to a bowl and set aside.
- Next, prep the crostini. Pre-heat the broiler on high. Arrange the baguette slices on a large baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides of each slice with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place the bread under the broiler for 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly brown. (Pay close attention here, it is scarily easy to burn crostini.) Remove from the broiler and briefly set aside.
- Transfer the cooked squash to the bowl of a food processor (or high-speed blender). Add the ricotta and process until very smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (You can also add a ¼ teaspoon pure maple syrup here if you have a sweet tooth.)
- Time to assemble the crostini! Spread each crostini with a generous dollop of butternut squash puree, then top with some shaved Brussels sprouts and a few pomegranate arils. Transfer to a serving plate or platter and serve.
This post is brought to you by my new friends at Vinho Verde, but all opinions are (very obviously) my own. Sponsored posts are few and far between around here, and I only endorse products and companies that I truly love. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Domesticate ME! alive and kicking!
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