It seems a Thanksgiving meal is incomplete without some kind of starchy mashed side. Be it potatoes, winter squash, or sweet potatoes, it’s a staple not just on the holiday itself but throughout the season.
This luscious butternut squash purée fills that role glamorously but is easily thrown together at the last minute. Bake the butternut squash while you shower and get dressed, then brown the butter while the squash cools enough to handle. Unlike potatoes, winter squash doesn’t become gummy, so you can bring all the ingredients together quickly in a blender or food processor.
Although simple to execute, the purée does not disappoint in terms of flavor: sweet squash, creamy ricotta, and nutty brown butter with a jolt of earthy, salty fried sage to garnish. It’s a pasta-less riff on the classic butternut squash ravioli!
Silky Butternut Squash
1 medium butternut squash (about 2.5 lbs.)
12 tbsp. butter, divided
½ cup strained ricotta
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
10-20 medium sage leaves, to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Rub lightly with a bit of oil and place skin-side-up on a baking sheet. Roast until soft all the way through, about 45 minutes.
2. Add 6 tbsp. butter to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted and begins to foam, whisk until it turns deeply golden. Remove from the heat and continue to whisk to incorporate any brown bits.
3. Scoop the flesh of the cooked butternut squash into a blender or food processor. Add the brown butter, ricotta, nutmeg, and one large pinch of salt and process until smooth.
4. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 6 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Once the butter begins to foam, add the sage leaves and fry until dark green and crispy. Remove using a slotted spoon and sprinkle generously with coarse salt. To serve, garnish each serving with 1-3 sage leaves. For potluck or family style, serve the squash in a rectangular dish and sprinkle the sage leaves over the top so each scoop as at least one leaf. (For real decadence, continue to brown the butter used to fry the sage leaves, and drizzle this over the finished dish, along with another pinch of salt.)
Elizabeth’s Wine Pairing Suggestion:
Leo Steen Chenin Blanc 2010
The baking spiced aromas and sweet nuttiness of a ripe, roasted Butternut Squash marry well with this fleshy New World Chenin Blanc. Honey peach tones are kissed with enough sweetness to complement the squash and fresh cheese in this luxuriant side dish.