Sunday, November 06, 2011

Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Chile Panko Crumbs

Since butternut squash only entered my life about ten years ago, I don't have a ton of recipes to use the delicious roasted gourd.  Gotta fix that.  This one is a nice recipe from Jean-Georges Vongerichten (geez, is that a mouthful or what??) that I kinda doctored up my own way.

Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Chile Panko Crumbs

1 large butternut squash (about 2½ pounds)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup panko crumbs
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
¼ cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds in to a bowl.  Set the seeds aside.  Rub the squash with vegetable oil, and place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down.  Bake until soft when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.  Transfer the flesh to a large serving dish and mash with a fork into an even layer. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the squash along with the balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Remove and discard the strings of the squash seeds.  Heat 3 tablespoons of the squash seeds in a large skillet over medium-low heat until dry. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt and toast, tossing occasionally. When the seeds begin to pop, partially cover the pan. Continue toasting until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then transfer to a plate.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until melted, then toss in the panko. When well coated, stir in the thyme, chile flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Toast, tossing occasionally until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and toasted seeds. Spread the crumb mixture over the squash in an even layer and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings

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