Two cute baby butternut squash and a bunch of arugula walked into a bar...no, not really. But I did find myself with two small butternut squash from our parents' garden and a bunch of arugula from this week's CSA. The squash had been hanging around for a while and I wanted to use them up and the arugula DOES NOT KEEP so had to be used immediately. A quick internet search led me to an Ina Garten recipe with EXACTLY these two ingredients. Serendipity. Of course, I didn't have ALL the ingredients on hand but I improvised and results were still delicioso, although I do look forward to making this by the book next time. For example, I substituted apple cider with apple cider syrup diluted with water - the syrup is really tangy and intense so it was still flavorful, but I'd still like to do this with the apple cider. Anyway, here is what I had:
2 little butternut squash
1 Tbs real maple syrup
2 Tbs dried cherries (instead of cranberries)
1 bunch arugula
Apple cider syrup (diluted with water, instead of apple cider, total 3/4 cup liquid)
2 Tbs white wine vinegar (instead of cider vinegar)
2 Tbs chopped onion and garlic (instead of shallots)
2 tps Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted pecans (instead of walnuts)
Peel and dice (3/4 inch) the butternut squash. Place on baking sheet with 2 tbs olive oil, maple syrup and s&p and roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Add the dried cherries with about 5 minutes left.
To make the dressing, I combined apple cider syrup and water (about half and half, but if you use cider or juice this won't be an issue), vinegar and onions/garlic and brought it to a boil. Let it simmer until its reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, olive oil and s&p to taste.
Top your arugula with the warm butternut squash and a few tablespoons of dressing. Sprinkle with toasted nuts and parmesan cheese - I used a vegetable peeler to make ribbons but you can use grated as well.
You'll find that the flavors in this salad complement each other beautifully - the hint of maple syrup with the sweet squash and tart cherries, the nutty parmesan with the peppery arugula and pecans. And I have tons of the roasted squash leftover, so there will be a pasta recipe to follow soon!