Butternut squash is one of the most versatile of squashes. It can be anything from ravioli to ice cream. This recipe is inspired by one that I enjoyed at a restaurant called Reef in Houston last March when Freddy and I were in Texas presenting our wine.(March 2010) The chef , Brian Caswell, was not around, so I made my best guess about most of the ingredients. Every part of the squash is utilized, except the skin!
In December (2010) I made it for a wine distributor who called and asked if I would make lunch for himself and 10 of his best friends from Nevada. His fun and entertaining friends included, Senator John Ensign, Lee Iaccoca, Steve Lawrence and Sigfried!
SPICY BUTTERNUT SALAD
1 pound butternut squash
2 tablespoons butternut squash seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups arugula
10 slices pancetta
pecorino cheese shavings
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Banyuls vinegar
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon sriracha chilli sauce
1. Peel the butternut squash and trim it so the rounds and circles are uniform and clean. Reserve the seeds and clean, rinse and dry them. 2. In a large baggie, put the squash, olive oil, brown sugar, sea salt and cayenne. Shake it to evenly coat the squash. 3. Remove the squash from the baggie and place on a silpat on a baking sheet. Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until lightly caramelized. 4. Toast the squash seeds with a little sea salt in a saute pan. 5. Saute the pancetta until very crispy. 6. Shave the pecorino cheese into curls with a vegetable peeler. 7. Mix the dressing: Sriracha sauce, Banyuls vinegar, pomegranate molasses and olive oil. 8. Toss the arugula with dressing and arrange on plates. Arrange the butternut circles and dots on and in the arugula. 9. Arrange the pancetta on the salad. 10. Garnish with the toasted butternut seeds and pecorino curls. Sprinkle with more dressing if needed.